In this paper, the behavior of a single degree-of-freedom (SDOF) passive vibration isolation system with geometrically nonlinear damping is investigated, and its displacement and force transmissibilities are compared with that of a linear system. The nonlinear system is composed of a linear spring and a linear viscous damper which are connected to a mass so that the damper is perpendicular to the spring. The system is excited by a harmonic force applied to the mass or a displacement of the base in the direction of the spring. The transmissibilities of the nonlinear isolation system are calculated using analytical expressions for small amplitudes of excitation and by using numerical simulations for high amplitude of excitation. When excited with a harmonic force, the forces transmitted through the spring and the damper are analyzed separately by decomposing the forces in terms of their harmonics. This enables the effects of these elements to be studied and to determine how they contribute individually to the nonlinear behavior of the system as a whole. For single frequency excitation, it is shown that the nonlinear damper causes distortion of the velocity of the suspended mass by generating higher harmonic components, and this combines with the time-varying nature of the damping in the system to severely distort the force transmitted though the damper. The distortion of the force transmitted through the spring is much smaller than that through the damper.

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