Semiactive vibration dampers offer an attractive compromise between the simplicity and fail safety of passive devices, and the weight, cost, and complexity of fully active systems. In addition, the dissipative nature of semiactive dampers ensures they always remain stable under closed loop control, unlike their fully active counterparts. However, undesirable limit cycle behavior remains a possibility, which is not always properly considered during the controller design. Smart fluids provide an elegant means to produce semiactive damping, since their resistance to flow can be directly controlled by the application of an electric or magnetic field. However, the nonlinear behavior of smart fluid dampers makes it difficult to design effective controllers, and so a wide variety of control strategies has been proposed in the literature. In general, this work has overlooked the possibility of undesirable limit cycle behavior under closed loop conditions. The aim of the present study is to demonstrate how the experimentally observed limit cycle behavior of smart dampers can be predicted and explained by appropriate nonlinear models. The study is based upon a previously developed feedback control strategy, but the techniques described are relevant to other forms of smart damper control.

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