This paper presents the design of a magneto-rheological (MR) damper for an off-road vehicle where large suspension travel and high flow rates, as compared to typical passenger car suspensions, are required. The MR damper is expected to enhance the capability of the suspension system by allowing variable damping due to inherent properties of the MR fluid. MR fluids exhibit a reversible behavior that can be controlled with the intensity of a magnetic field, allowing a change in the effective viscosity and thereby in the damping characteristics of the fluid. A mathematical model of the proposed damper has been developed using the Bingham plastic model so as to determine the necessary geometry for the damper designed in this study, using the fluid flow rate and current to the electromagnet as the input variables. The model is used to compute the damping force, and the analytical results show that the designed MR damper provides the required range of damping force for the specific vehicle setup that is being used for this study. A valve-mode MR fluid channel has been designed such that the required minimum damping is reached in the off-state, and the desired maximum damping is reached in the on-state. For manufacturing and size considerations, the final design incorporates a triple pass layout with the MR fluid flowing through the three passages that are arranged in an S-shape so as to minimize the cross section of the electromagnet core.

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