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Design Rules for MR Fluid Dampers

Zhou Yufeng Yin Cuntao (Sichuan College of Information Technology GuangyuanSichuan628017,China)

Abstract: This paper will focus on design issues for magnetorheological (MR) fluid dampers. By analyzing the working mode of MR fluids, a simple damper force model is established. And several critical factors which will affect the properties of a MR damper are discussed and the corresponding design rules are put forward to. The goal in designing a MR damper is to achieve the highest damper force in the case of finite magnetic field strength applied to the MR fluids. In order to achieve this goal, proper magnetic field alignment and other structure parameters must be carefully selected. Keywords: Magnetorheolgical fluids; Dampers; Design CLC number:TB381 1. INTRODUCTION Magnetorheologcial (MR) fluids are a new kind of smart material whose rheology can be influenced by application of a magnetic field. Typically, when magnetic field is applied to MR fluids, MR fluids have the ability to increase the dynamic yield stress considerably. Moreover, this rheologicl property can be implemented within a very short time, typically microseconds. Now, MR fluids have received considerable interest because this rheological property can provide simple, rapid-response, strong interface between magnetic field and mechanical systems. And many MR-fluid-based engineering devices, such as servo-valves, clutches, brakes, suspensions, have been designed and widely researched.


There are three modes [1] in which MR devices work, (1) valve mode (2) direct shear mode, (3) squeeze mode. These working modes are represented pictorially in Figure 1.

Figure 1. working modes of MR fluids

As to valve mode, the MR fluids undergo pressure driven flow. The fluids flow through the region where the magnetic field is applied. Examples of pressure driven valve mode devices include servo-valves, dampers and shock absorbers. About the last of the modes, the direct shear mode, the MR fluids are contained between two walls which have relative motion between each other. And shear stress is induced in the fluids by this relative motion. Examples of direct shear mode devices include brakes, chucking and locking devices. As the name suggests, the squeeze mode involves squeezing MR fluids between


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surfaces. The MR fluids are driven in the direction perpendicular to the relative movement of the driving surface. This mode of operation can be used in low motion, high force application. 3.STUCTURE OF THE LINEARMR DAMPERS Linear MR dampers operate in a mixed mode direct shear mode and valve mode .A schematic of this MR damper is shown in Figure 2.The piston head with electromagnetic coils moves up and down and pressurizes MR fluids in the chamber to flow through the annular orifice where magnetic field can be activated by the current in the electromagnetic coils. Current is carried to the coil through the hollow shaft. The gas chamber is located outside as an accumulator of the MR fluids.

Figure 2. schematic of MR dampers

Linear MR dampers have shown many advantages such as very low input power (less than 50 watts), simple structure, quick response and high damper force. They can be used for real-time, semi-active control devices of damper in industrial application. Lord Corporation has shown a commercially available truck seat damper [ 2] which works on the basis of MR fluids. In 1997, J. D. Carlson designed and built a linear MR damper [ 2] for civil engineering application which can provide a maximum damper force of 200,000N (20-ton). 4.A SIMPLIE DAMPER FORCE MODEL FOR MR FLUID 4.1 Model for the MR fluids The rehological response of MR fluids results from the polarization induced in the suspended particles by application of an external magnetic field. The interaction between the resulting dipoles causes the particles to form columnar structures which are parallel to the applied field. These chain-like structures restrict the motion of the fluids, thereby increasing the viscous characteristics of the MR fluids. The mechanical energy needed to yield these chain-like structures increase as the applied field increases and leads to a field dependent yield stress. In the absence of an applied field, MR fluid exhibit Newtonian-like behavior[ 2] . With the existence of the external field, MR fluids are generally modeled as Bingham plastic fluids having a variable yield stress[1] . The stress developed in the MR fluid model when the yield stress has been exceeded is governed by the equation: = y .sign( du du )+ . dy dy (1)


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Where y is the yield stress, is the viscosity of the fluid and u is the flow rate of the fluid in the shear region. 4.2 The damper force model for MR damper The damper force developed by MR damper can be divided into two independent componentscomponent induced by direct shear model and component by valve model. The total damper force [ 3] can be described as: F = Fshear + Fvalve Fshear =L D y + Fvalve = 12LA p Dh
3 2

(2) (3)

LD u h 3L y h Ap



Then total force developed by linear MR damper working in mixed model is:
F =(

12LA p Dh

3LAp LD )u+( +L D) y h h


Where L is the efficient length of the piston, Ap is the piston head area, D is the internal diameter of the column, u is the relative rate between piston and the column, h is the gap length between the external surface of the piston and the internal surface of the column. In a like manner, the force developed by linear MR damper can be divided into two independent componentsviscous component F and field induced yield stress

F again. So, the controllability of damper can be obtained by changing the current in
the coil which can affect the value of F . F =( 12LA p Dh


LD )u h


F =(

3LAp h

+L D) y


5.DESIGN RULES FOR MR DAMPERS MR fluids require magnetic field to control their behavior. So the focus in designing a MR damper will be how to get the most damper force in the case of finite magnetic field. In the equation(6),these parameters such as L, D, , A p and h can be adjusted in order to get sufficient damper force. Fist, MR fluids should be carefully selected in than proper viscosity ( ) of the fluids can be guaranteed. Then, L can be adjusted as


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long as possible. A p and D can also be changed in small degree because they can lead to larger geometry dimension. The last but very important factor is the value of h. It can neither be too big nor too small. If h is too big, the magnetic field intensity in the gap will decrease sharply. On the other hand, if h is too small, it can be clearly seen from equation(6) that the viscous component in the total force will be much more evident when compared with field induced yield stress component. This will lead to a poor controllable characteristics of MR damper. According to experiment data, h should be selected between 1mm and 2mm. Whats more, the magnetic field orientation with respect to the MR fluid flow direction should be taken into account when desinging a MR damper. Some exeperiment has shown that when the magnetic field orientation is perpendicular to the MR fluid flow direction, the damper force has maximum value. [1] . 6.CONCLUSIONS By establishing a simple damper force model of MR damper, these parameters (L, D, , A p and h) have effects on the characteristics of MR damper. Selection of proper values of these parameters is important in designing MR damper and the corresponding designing rules are obtained.

[1].Muturi Muriuki and W.W. Clark, Design Issues in Magnetorheological Fluid Actuators , SPIE Vol.3627, pp.55-64(1999). [2].Mark R. Jolly, Jonathan W. Bender and J. David Carlson, Properties and Applications of Commercial Magnetorheological Fluids , SPIE Vol.3327, pp. 262-275(1998). [3].J. P. Ou and X. C. Guan, Theory and Experiments of Magnetorheological Fluids and Smart Actuators for Vibration Control of Structures , report of NNSF(59895410),2000. Correspondence: E-mail:; Telephone: 13908121602; Sichuan College of Information Technology,628017, Zhou Yufeng. 1973 12 Telephone: 13908121602


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