Due to low power consumption and fast response, magnetorheological (MR) dampers are widely used in various engineering applications. To enhance the performances, efforts have been made to increase the field dependent force with the same power consumption. However, the fluid viscous force is also increased significantly, which is undesirable in practical use. To tackle this problem, the focus of this paper is to design and test a new MR damper with micro-grooves for performance enhancement.

First, the detailed design of the proposed MR damper is provided. A prototype of the new MR damper is fabricated. Silicon steel circular rings with thickness of 0.25 mm are installed around the damper piston to form two-layer micro-grooves. Experimental results of the two MR dampers without and with micro-grooves are then compared.

The advantages of MR damper with micro-grooves over the one without micro-grooves are validated. The damping force and controllable force range of MR damper with micro-grooves are larger than the one without micro-grooves. When designing MR damper, making micro-grooves can also decrease the increment of fluid viscous force while keeping the same increase of field dependent force. With micro-grooves, the field dependent force is increased by 92.7% with the same power consumption, while the fluid viscous force is increased by 43%.

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