Magnetic bearings provide rotor support without direct contact. There is a great deal of current interest in using magnetic bearings for active vibration control. Conventional designs use electrical current to provide the bias flux, which is an integral feature of most magnetic bearing control strategies. Permanent magnet biased systems are a relatively recent innovation in the field of magnetic bearings. The bias flux is supplied by permanent magnets (rather than electrically) allowing for significant decreases in resistance related energy losses. The use of permanent magnet biasing in homopolar designs results in a complex flux flow path, unlike conventional radial designs which are much simpler in this regard. In the current work, a design is developed for a homopolar permanent magnet biased magnetic bearing system. Specific features of the design and results from experimental testing are presented and discussed. Of particular interest is the issue of reduction of flux leakage and more efficient use of the permanent magnets.

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