Excerpt from the Proceedings of the COMSOL Users Conference 2006 Milano

Nonlinear Magnetic Analysis of Multi-plate Magnetorheological Brakes and Clutches
M. Benetti*1, E. Dragoni1 1 DISMI, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy
*Corresponding author: Via Amendola, 2, 42100 Reggio Emilia, Italy, benetti.matteo@unimore.it

Abstract: This paper deals with the nonlinear magnetic analysis of a 100 Nm, multi-disc, magnetorheological fluid rotary brake or clutch, carried out with COMSOL Multiphysics software. Along with the results of the analysis, the paper presents merits and limitations found in the use of the software and introduces current efforts to include in future simulations the thermal and the mechanical responses of the device. Keywords: smart materials, magnetorheological fluids, nonlinear magnetic analysis. .

Unfortunately, ferromagnetic materials and MR fluids show a highly nonlinear behaviour, presenting hysteresis and saturation, thus the calculation of the field distribution and intensity is usually complex. Obtaining a better magnetic flux distribution in the fluid means the device needs less electric power or less fluid to properly work: this is a key aspect in designing MR devices. In this paper, the mechanical design of a 100 Nm magnetorheological multi-plate brake is presented. The design capitalizes on the detailed analysis of the magnetic field distribution over the system, performed by means of COMSOL software.

1. Introduction 2. Brake (Clutch) design
Magnetorheological fluids are suspension of micron sized magnetizable iron particles in a carrying fluid, with the addiction of stabilizing substances to avoid particles sedimentation and wear. MR fluids can change in some milliseconds their viscosity when exposed to a magnetic field, turning into a Bingham solid with a well defined shear stress. When magnetized, MR fluids behave like Bingham solids with a total shear stress given by:

τ = τ 0 ( H ) + η ⋅ γ&


where τ0 is the yield stress (function of the applied magnetic field, H), η is the dynamic & viscosity and γ is the shear rate. For a disc brake (or clutch) the maximum resistant or transmissible torque is thus function of both τ0 & and γ . The static yield stress τ0 is a function of

The maximum shear stress they can develop is a function of the field applied and for some fluids it is in the order of 100 kPa. Typical applications for these materials are controlled energy dissipation devices, such as brakes, dampers, shock absorber and clutches. In designing MRF devices the most important aspect is the intensity and the distribution of the magnetic field over the working fluid volume. The magnetic field depends on materials, geometry, position of the wiring and number of turns in the coil.

& the magnetic field only, while γ depends both on the rotational speed and the fluid gap dimension. For a brake, the minimum resistant & torque is obtained for γ = 0. As for small deformations (in the order of 10-3) magnetized fluid behaves like a viscoelastic solid, to calculate the torque on a disc face equations for torsional shear stresses in elastic solids will be considered (scheme of Fig. 1):


The final design equation is then: Tstatic . The expression for the maximum torque is: τ ( R0 ) = τ 0 r R0 Let’s now carry out the design for a 100 Nm brake. Employing 6 discs only 17 Nm per disc are needed to achieve the 100 Nm. Discs and case are made of AISI 1010 steel. with good magnetic properties. Magnetic field vs. the 140CG hydrocarbon oil based MR fluid from LORD Corporation has been chosen. and the MR fluid gap between them is 0. the maximum shear stress is 60 kPa at 200 kA/m. (3) From Equations 1 and 2 then we obtain: τ (r ) = τ 0 ⋅ (4) The contribution to the total torque from a elementary element is: dT = τ (r ) ⋅ 2π ⋅ r 2 dr (5) Figure 3.Excerpt from the Proceedings of the COMSOL Users Conference 2006 Milano Figure 2. N = N πτ 0 (R 4 0 − Ri4 ) R0 (7) Choosing a maximum diameter for the discs of 100 mm (2R0). Five discs are then needed for a 100 Nm torque. presenting the highest yield stress among commercially available MR fluids. It is seen that each disc has two working surfaces. 5 from Ri to R0 we obtain the final value of the torque: Tstatic = πτ 0 (R 4 0 − Ri4 ) 2 R0 (6) In Figure 2 the axial section of a brake featuring N = 6 plates is shown.5 KPa. the brake is composed by 6 rotating discs (mounted on the shaft) and 5 stator discs. with a Ri of 10 mm (shaft radius). Section view of the MR Brake Figure 1. The discs are 1 mm thick. if the maximum shear stress for the fluid is considered. As working fluid. Single disc brake (or clutch) scheme τ (r ) = C ⋅ r (2) in which r is the radius and C is a constant. yield stress in MR140CG fluid By integrating Eq. That means the shear stress in the fluid must be only 43. 3.5 mm. As shown in Figure 3. disc spacers 2 . while the shaft. Magnetic Analysis As shown in Figure 2.5 Nm/disc. using Equation 6 we obtain a torque of 23.

In Figure 4 the COMSOL model is shown. as the braking torque is function of the magnetic field. The streamlines are almost perfectly perpendicular to the disc faces. Figure 6. B-H curve for MR140CG fluid 4. and the field intensity must be as high as possible in the working fluid gaps. The total diameter of the brake is 200 mm including the wiring. 5 and 10 A/mm2. Moreover. In Figure 7 the magnetic field streamlines are shown. Results To work properly. Figure 4. a parametric analysis has been carried out for current densities Jφ of 0.5. Figure 7. 2. 3. low electrical power).5. B-H curve for AISI 1010 steel 3 . The problem is obviously axisymmetric. The analysis is stationary and non linear. 2.5. 1. 1. the desired torque (or force for linear devices) should be obtained with low currents (i. Magnetic field streamlines in the brake Figure 5. the magnetic field lines should be perpendicular to the direction of motion of the fluid. and thus of the current. COMSOL axysimmetric model Magnetic materials and MR fluids exhibit a non linear relationship between the applied magnetic field H and the magnetic flux B (Figures 5 and 6).e. On the other hand.Excerpt from the Proceedings of the COMSOL Users Conference 2006 Milano and bearing are made of non magnetic materials (stainless steel and aluminium).

369 8. the first disc shows the same value than the last one and so on).358 DISC 7 8 9 10 11 12 TORQUE (Nm) 8.5 A/mm2 current density Figure 9.459 8. It is evident that the magnetic flux density value is practically constant on every disc and fluid gap.385 8. To do that. The graph of Figure 9 shows a comparison of the flux density along a disc face (radial direction) for different currents.439 8.5 A/mm2 Figure 8.556 8.492 8. the exact torque has been calculated for a Jφ of 2. The field value is constant over the discs. Integrating τ(r) as shown in Equation 5. B vs. yield stress interpolated curve for MR140CG fluid 4 . The graph of Figure 10 shows the field B for Jφ = 2.1 T.356 8.537 8.5 A/mm2 on each disc. symmetrical (i. Magnetic flux density on the first disc for different current densities Figure 11.437 8. Torque contribution for each disc at 2. DISC 1 2 3 4 5 6 TORQUE (Nm) 8. Then vectors listing the magnetic flux density value B versus the radial coordinates of every discs have been interpolated with a cubic polynomial and then substituted in the τ(B) function for the MR fluid. Magnetic flux density contour map (Jφ = 2.e.396 Table 1. to obtain a τ(r) function. as expected. Magnetic flux density on each disc for Jφ = 2. Employing the relationship between τ and B for the MR140CG fluid (Figure 11) it’s now possible to calculate the exact torque contribution for every disc (Table 1) and then the total resistant torque.5 A/mm2) In Figure 8 the magnetic flux density contour map is shown for a current density Jφ = 2.Excerpt from the Proceedings of the COMSOL Users Conference 2006 Milano Figure 10. with a maximum difference of 0.5 A/mm2.452 8. The values are.5 A/mm2. the results obtained with COMSOL have been exported in MATLAB.

References 1. instead of a current density J. Clair. However. in this case) analysis is difficult: the reason seems to be in the B(H) function for ferromagnetic materials. That can be the reason why sometimes the convergence is difficult. MRF Clutch Design Considerations and Performances.5 A/mm2 and the torque contribution is practically the same for each disc. LORD Corporation 3. It’s then easy to find out the total coil resistance. the total torque is 84. COMSOL Multiphysics USERS’ Manual 4. Carlson. Magnetorheological Effect as a Base of New Devices and Technologies. For 2D problems. Especially the Simulink interface will allow to directly design a control system for the MR brake (or clutch). The paper 5 . Dresden 2. Dotzauer. shows as an example the design of a rotary brake. model creation and definition are far more simple than in other FEM software. 6. sometimes. while the H-B curve always grows monotonically. 395-398 (1993) 5. Conclusions and Future Work A nonlinear magnetic analysis of a multi plate magnetorheological brake (clutch) has been performed with COMSOL Multiphisics.A. 122 (1993). Thess. Lampe. Future work will include a control system for the brake and a complete thermal analysis. but the same equations and models apply to a multi plate clutch as well. Remarks on COMSOL usage Advantages in using COMSOL Multiphisics are the flexibility in model and material definition and the possibility to easily interface the program with MATLAB and Simulink to customize the results postprocessing. inductance. Moreover. without studying and implementing a new Simulink model for the controlled device. K. With a simple 6 disc structure it is possible to obtain a resistant (or transmissible) torque greater than 100 Nm with low currents and power. 6. C. W. Kordonsky.I. Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Meterials. D. A. the electrical power needed to obtain the desired braking torque and the electric time constant of the brake for control simulations. it’s possible to calculate the number of wires N and their cross section to obtain the Jφ value entered in COMSOL simulations. Dresden University of Technology. D. of a current i. the µr(B) curve is not monotonic (it usually grows to a maximum and then decreases).M. at least for certain current density values.4 Nm at 2. Commercial Magneto-Rheological Fluid Devices. Being the coil section area about 400 mm2. Moreover. To obtain 100 Nm a current density Jφ = 5 A/mm2 is needed. D.St.Excerpt from the Proceedings of the COMSOL Users Conference 2006 Milano According to Table 1. COMSOL needs a B-µr law rather than a H-B one: unfortunately. the convergence for nonlinear (magnetic. Catanzarite. in the case of electromagnetic problems an improvement could be the definition. wire diameter and number of coil turns N.

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