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Magnetic dampers are still a good option for skin Ride

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Magnetic dampers are still a good option for skin
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26 July 2021

The Magneride damping technology, originally designed by Delphi mega-supplier and produced now by BWI spin-off BWI, is one of many technologies that improve ride and handling.

Magneride is 20 years old next year. The fourth generation of Magneride is still in use. This technology is used by many well-known brands such as Ferrari and Cadillac, and it’s fitted to the Mustang Mach-E GT that was recently shown at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Three things are crucial: comfort, roadholding and handling. A car without them would not be able to drive, so the more efficient they can perform in all conditions the better it will run.

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A conventional damper is a piston that moves up and down through a tube. The tube is filled with oil. There are small valves inside the piston that allow fluid to flow through. However, moving the piston is difficult and creates the damping effect. This prevents the car’s bounce from bumps on the springs. Different levels can be used for different directions, which allows for different damping levels.

Magneride is a clever name that suggests magnetism. Instead of dampers being filled by oil, or in the case with gas dampers such as Bilstein’s oil and pressure gas, magnetorheological fluid (MRF) is used. MR fluid, an oily liquid which holds tiny iron particles in suspension without any valves, is an oily liquid. The iron particles form clumps when the electromagnet inside the piston turns on. It becomes more difficult to push the fluid through the channels of the piston. This increases damping effort.

The field can be switched off to allow the particles to separate and then the damping effect almost disappears. The damping effect adapts instantly to the road conditions and the stronger the field is. Magneride takes cues from other sensors on the vehicle that regulate its dynamics.

Third-generation Magneride systems were improved by replacing the one coil with two smaller ones. Engineers discovered that this changed cancelled out the eddy currents which lingered for just a few seconds after switching off the single coil version. Although the change only improved response times by 12 milliseconds, it was sufficient to make driving easier.

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This fourth generation graces Ford’s fast EV. The controller now measures inertia directly. Motion control was improved and wheel-hub mounted accelerometers have been added.

It is lighter and takes up 20% less space. The software has also been improved and the internal friction between damper units and controllers has been reduced. It’s still one of the most innovative suspension technology of the 21st Century, even after two decades.

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Publiated at Sun 25 July 2021 23.44:30 (+10000)

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