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This paper explores the design methodology and effectiveness of small-scale magnetorheological dampers (MRDs) in applications that require variable damping. Previously, applications of MRD have been chiefly limited to vehicle shock absorbers and seismic vibration attenuators. There has been recent biomedical interest in active-damping technology, however, particularly in the field of rehabilitation robotics. The topic at hand is the feasibility of developing MRDs that would be functionally and cosmetically adequate for actuation of an upper limb tremor suppression orthosis. A Bingham plastic model is used to determine MRD's functional characteristics, and experimental data are presented to validate the mathematical model. The feasibility of applying the developed small-scale MRDs to attenuation of tremorous motion is explored.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2013