A uniform variational approach to sensitivity analysis of vibration frequencies and bifurcation loads of nonlinear structures is developed. Two methods of calculating the sensitivities of bifurcation buckling loads and vibration frequencies of nonlinear structures, with respect to stiffness and initial strain parameters, are presented. A direct method requires calculation of derivatives of the prebuckling state with respect to these parameters. An adjoint method bypasses the need for these derivatives by using instead the strain field associated with the second-order post-buckling state. An operator notation is used and the derivation is based on the principle of virtual work. The derivative computations are easily implemented in structural analysis programs. This is demonstrated by examples using a general purpose, finite element program and a shell-of-revolution program.

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