Magnetorheological (MR) dampers are promising to substitute traditional oil dampers because of adaptive properties of
MR fluids. During vibration, significant energy is wasted due to the energy dissipation in the damper. Meanwhile, for
conventional MR damping systems, extra power supply is needed. In this paper, a new energy harvester is designed in an
MR damper that integrates controllable damping and energy harvesting functions into one device. The energy harvesting
part of this MR damper has a unique mechanism converting linear motion to rotary motion that would be more stable and
cost effective when compared to other mechanical transmissions. A Maxon motor is used as a power generator to convert
the mechanical energy into electrical energy to supply power for the MR damping system. Compared to conventional
approaches, there are several advantages in such an integrated device, including weight reduction, ease in installation
with less maintenance. A mechanical energy harvested MR damper with linear-rotary motion converter and motion
rectifier is designed, fabricated, and tested. Experimental studies on controllable damping force and harvested energy are
performed with different transmissions. This energy harvesting MR damper would be suitable to vehicle suspensions,
civil structures, and smart prostheses.
Magnetorheological (MR) dampers are promising for vehicle suspensions, by virtue of their adaptive properties. During the everyday use of vehicles, a lot of energy is wasted due to the energy dissipation by dampers under the road irregularities. On the other hand, extra batteries are required for the current MR damper systems. To reduce the energy waste and get rid of the dependence on extra batteries, in this paper, regenerative MR dampers are proposed for vehicle suspensions, which integrate energy harvesting and controllable damping functions. The wasted vibration energy can be converted into electrical energy and power the MR damper coil. A regenerative MR damper for vehicle suspensions is developed. Damping force and power generation characteristics of the regenerative MR damper were modeled and analyzed. Then the damper is applied to a 2 DOF suspension system for system simulation under various road conditions. Simulation results show that riding comfort can be significantly improved, while harvesting energy for other use in addition to supply power for the controlled MR damper.