This paper is devoted to the theoretical and experimental investigation of a sample automotive belt-pulley system subjected to tension fluctuations. The equation of motion for transverse vibrations leads to a nonlinear Mathieu equation. The analyzes are performed via either the harmonic balance method for establishing the instability regions or the multiple scales approach for predicting the nonlinear response. An experimental set-up gives rise to non-linear parametric instabilities. The experimental investigation shows that the model is satisfactory.

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