The natural modes of free vibrations of a symmetrical two-degree-of-freedom system are analyzed theoretically and experimentally. This system has two natural modes, one in-phase and the other out-of-phase. In contradistinction to the comparable single-degree-of-freedom system where the free vibrations are always orbitally stable, the natural modes of the symmetrical two-degree-of-freedom system are frequently unstable. The stability properties depend on two parameters and are easily deduced from a stability chart. For sufficiently small amplitudes both modes are, in general, stable. When the coupling spring is linear, both modes are always stable at all amplitudes. For other conditions, either mode may become unstable at certain amplitudes. In particular, if there is a single value of frequency and amplitude at which the system can vibrate in either mode, the out-of-phase mode experiences a change of stability. The experimental investigation has generally confirmed the theoretical predictions.

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