Attraction Is Magnetic
We all remember being a child living in Britain and playing with magnets UK. Fascinated by the way they can attract and repel each other depending on which side of the item is pointing at the other. You could find magnets in toys, on fridges and in the fridge door, audio speakers and much more. Now you are all grown and up driving you might not be aware of an interesting development in automobile suspension technology. For many years the devices controlling the springs on a car were called shock absorbers and extremely simple they were too. Basically, a thick oily fluid is trapped in a tubular chamber and a piston is forced up and down as the car goes over bumps in the road.
Putting a dampener on things
The damped movement of the piston controls the spring rate which helps the handling of a car. The settings of traditional shocks are very basic and require an owner to jack the vehicle up and turns the settings manually. Not very dynamic I’m sure you will agree.
Recently a company called Delphi Corporation developed are useful product called Magne-Ride. They first used it with good results on the Cadillac Seville STS. Their dampers are filled with a magnetorheological fluid which is a mixture of magnetised iron particles in a synthetic hydrocarbon oil. In the damper tubes is a piston containing a pair of electromagnetic coils. There are also two small fluid passages inside the piston.
The clever part of all this engineering is the electromagnets can vary the magnetic field through the fluid passages. Magnets of the fluid thins and the piston travels nice and easy, magnets on and the viscosity of the oil based liquid changes to a thicker grade slowing the damping action.
Align this technology with clever electronics and the benefits for suspension control are amazing. Today most high-end cars have some form of magnetic damping system, the drivers don’t even realise the clever R and D which went into the superior road holding on their.