An analytical and experimental investigation of a vibratory system with a clearance was conducted. A finite element model and an equivalent single-degree-of-freedom closed-form solution were used to determine the dynamic parameters and response of an experimental structure interacting with a gap. The closed-form solution is obtained by taking advantage of the piecewise linearity of the system. Results from these solution methods are in agreement with experimental data. The results also suggest that the closed-form solution approximates the response of the experimental structure with accuracy greater than that of the finite element model. The closed-form solution was also used to determine the gap size of the structure. The parameter identification procedure utilized in this study appears to be simple to use and can be readily extended to other types of piecewise-linear multi-degree-of-freedom systems.

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