An important question facing a designer is whether a certain machine system will have a stable operating condition. To date, the investigations which deal with this question have been scarce. This study treats an elastic two-degree-of-freedom system with position-dependent inertia and external forcing. In Part I, the nonlinear equations of motion are derived and linearized about the system’s steady-state rigid-body response. The stability of the linearized equations is examined using Floquet theory, and a computationally efficient method for approximating the monodromy matrix is presented. A specific example is proposed and the results are presented in Part II of this paper.

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