A combined analysis of smooth and non-smooth bifurcations captures the interplay of different qualitative transitions in a canonical model of an impact pair, a forced capsule in which a ball moves freely between impacts on either end of the capsule. The analysis, generic for the impact pair context, is also relevant for applications. It is applied to a model of an inclined vibro-impact energy harvester device, where the energy is generated via impacts of the ball with a dielectric polymer on the capsule ends. While sequences of bifurcations have been studied extensively in single degree of freedom impacting models, there are limited results for two degree of freedom impacting systems such as the impact pair. Using an analytical characterization of impacting solutions and their stability based on the maps between impacts, we obtain sequences of period doubling and fold bifurcations together with grazing bifurcations, a particular focus here. Grazing occurs when a sequence of impacts on either end of the capsule are augmented by a zero velocity impact, a transition that is fundamentally different from the smooth bifurcations that are instead characterized by eigenvalues of the local behavior. The combined analyses allow identification of bifurcations also on unstable or unphysical solutions branches, which we term ghost bifurcations. While these ghost bifurcations are not observed numerically or experimentally, nevertheless they can influence the birth or death of complex behaviors and additional grazing transitions, as confirmed by comparisons with numerical results. The competition between the different bifurcations and their ghosts influences the parameter ranges for favorable energy output; thus the analyses of bifurcation sequences yields important design information.
PACS: 05.45.-a , 34.50.Ez