Design and Characterization of Tunable Magneto-Rheological Fluid-Elastic Mounts

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Virginia Tech


This study of adaptable vibration isolating mounts sets out to capture the uniqueness of magnetorheological (MR) fluid's variable viscosity rate, and to physically alter the damping and stiffness when used inside an elastomeric mount. Apparent variable viscosity or rheology of the MR fluid has dependency on the application of a magnetic field. Therefore, this study also intends to look at the design of a compact magnetic field generator which magnetizes the MR fluid to activate different stiffness and damping levels within the isolator to create an adaptable and tunable feature.

To achieve this adaptable isolator mount, a mold will be fabricated to construct the mounts. A process will then be devised to manufacture the mounts and place MR fluid inside the mount for later compatibility with the magnetic field generator. This process will then produce an MR fluid-elastic mount. Additionally for comparative purposes, passive mounts will be manufactured with a soft rubber casing and an assortment of metal and non-metal inserts. Next, the design of the magnetic field generator will be modeled using FEA magnetic software and then constructed.

Stiffness or force/displacement measurements will then be analyzed from testing the isolator mount and magnetic field generator on a state-of-the-art vibration dynamometer. To vary the magnetic flux through the mount, an electro-magnet is used. To analyze the results, a frequency method of the stiffness will be used to show the isolators adaptation to various increments of magnetic flux over the sinusoidal input displacement frequencies. This frequency response of the stiffness will then be converted into a modeling technique to capture the essence of the dynamics from activating the MR fluid within the isolator mount.

With this methodology for studying the adaptability of an MR fluid-elastic mount, the stiffness increases are dependent on the level of magnetic field intensity provided from the supplied electro-magnet. When the electro-magnet current supply is increased from 0.0 to 2.0 Amps, the mount stiffness magnitude increase is 78% in one of the MR fluid-elastic mounts. Through comparison, this MR fluid-elastic mount at off-state with zero magnetic field is similar to a mount made of solid rubber with a hardness of 30 Shore A. With 2 Amps of current, however, the MR fluid-elastic mount has a higher stiffness magnitude than a rubber mount and resembles a rubber casing with a steel insert.

Moreover, when the current in the electro-magnet is increased from 0.0 to 2.0 Amps the equivalent damping coefficient in a MR fluid-elastic mount increases over 500% of the value at 0 Amps at low frequency. Through damping comparisons, the MR fluid-elastic mount with no current is similar to that of a mount made of solid rubber with a hardness of 30 Shore A. At full current in the electromagnet, however, the damping in the MR fluid-elastic mount is greater than any of the comparative mounts in this study.

Therefore, the results show that the MR fluid-elastic mount can provide a wide range of stiffness and damping variation for real-time embedded applications. Since many aerospace and automotive applications use passive isolators as engine mounts in secondary suspensions to reduce transmitted forces at cruise speed, the MR fluid-elastic mount could be substituted to reduce transmitted forces over a wider range of speeds. Additionally, this compact MR fluid-elastic mount system could be easily adapted to many packaging constraints in those applications.



mount, isolator, elastomer, elastic, MR fluid-elastic mount, magnetorheological fluid, MR fluid, magneto-rheological fluid, tunable isolator, characterization, semi-active mount