Review: a survey on configurations and performance of flow-mode MR valves

Magnetorheological (MR) actuators are semi-active devices controlled by magnetic stimuli. The technology has been commercialized in the automotive industry or high-quality optical finishing applications. It harnesses the rheology of smart fluids to result in the unique application of the material. By a wide margin, the most common example of an MR actuator is a flow-mode single-tube housing with a control valve (electromagnet with a fixed-size air gap filled with the MR fluid) operating in a semi-active vibration control environment. The analysis of the prior art shows that the developed configurations of MR valves vary in size, complexity, the ability to generate adequate levels of pressure, and the interactions with the MR fluid’s rheology resulting in various performance envelopes. Moreover, miscellaneous testing procedures make a direct valve-to-valve comparison difficult. Therefore, in this paper we present a detailed and systematic review of MR control valves, provide classification criteria, highlight the operating principle, and then attempt to categorize the valves into groups sharing similarities in the design and performance envelope(s). Moreover, a simple performance metric based on the shear stress calculation is proposed, too, for evaluating the performance of particular valving prototypes. In the review, we discuss the key configurations, highlight their strengths and weaknesses and explore various opportunities for tuning their performance range. The review provides complementary information for the engineers and researchers with a keen interest in MR applications, in general. It is an organized and and critical study targeted at improvements in the categorization and description of MR devices.


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