Passive contra-magnetized parallel-airgap serial flux magnetic bearings

K Kalita, W K S Khoo, S D Garvey, R J Hill-Cottingham, D Rodger, J F Eastham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conventional magnetic bearings accomplish a specific load capacity, defined as the ratio of maximum sustainable weight to the total self-weight, of up to 35:1. In this paper, the authors introduce a class of passive magnetic bearings that comprise a large number of parallel airgaps and discs and can deliver specific load capacities substantially higher than 35: 1. Two-dimensional planar, two-dimensional axi-symmetric, and three-dimensional finite-element analysis (FEA) have been undertaken to predict the force capability of the bearings. An unoptimized prototype passive magnetic bearing is constructed to demonstrate the concept and its force-carrying capacity. The experimental results are then compared with those obtained from the FEA. Further optimization of the bearings is done across the whole design space comprising tens of thousands of models using an automatic mesh generator in conjunction with solving the FE models in nested loops.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2515-2524
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part C: Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science
Issue numberC11
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • specific load capacity
  • parallel-airgap serial flux
  • passive magnetic bearing


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