Magnetic bearings are subject to performance limits which are quite different from those of conventional bearings. These are due in part to the inherent nonlinearity of the device and in part to its electrical nature. Three important nonideal behaviors are presented: peak force capacity, force slew rate limitation, and sensitivity to rotor motion at large displacements. The problem of identifying the dynamic requirements of a magnetic bearing when used to support a known structure subject to known loads is discussed in the context of these limits. Several simple design tools result from this investigation.

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