In this paper a linear oscillator undergoing impact with a secondary elastic support is studied experimentally and semi-analytically for near-grazing conditions. The experimentally observed bifurcations are explained with help from simulations based on mapping solutions between locally smooth subspaces. Smooth as well as nonsmooth bifurcations are observed, and the resulting atypical bifurcations are explained, often as an interplay between them. In order to understand the observed bifurcation scenarios, a global analysis is required, due to the influence of stable and unstable orbits which are born in distant bifurcations but become important at near-grazing conditions. The good degree of correspondence between experiment and theory fully justifies the modelling approach. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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