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Compared with dc magnetic bearings, an ac magnetic bearing has obvious advantages in cost savings and reducing power consumption. For more precise control of the ac magnetic bearing, it is particularly important to build a correct mathematical model of radial suspension forces. Due to the working principle of the ac magnetic bearing, it has similarities to the suspension subsystem of a bearingless motor, thus the modeling method for radial suspension forces of the bearingless motor could be referenced for modeling the radial suspension forces of the ac magnetic bearing. This paper presents a new modeling method based on the Maxwell tensor method for radial suspension forces of the ac magnetic bearing. Compared with existing methods, the invention method designed specially for the ac magnetic bearing overcomes inaccuracy and possesses advantages of directness and universality. Taking the ac hybrid magnetic bearing (ac HMB), for example, this paper presents the mathematical modeling process of radial suspension forces with the proposed method. The comparison result between the models established by the equivalent magnetic circuit method (the most classical modeling method for magnetic bearings currently) and by the proposed method shows the high uniformity in their forms of expression (the only difference is the coefficient between them). Being different from the traditional modeling method, we do not need the detailed derivation and complex theoretical computation based on the particular magnetic circuit analysis for this particular case but simply modify several key expressions representing magnetic circuit features in the modeling process with this method. Therefore, the proposed method invented especially for the ac magnetic bearing has the greater advantage of directness and universality than previous modeling method. To illustrate the precision of the proposed modeling approach, the verification experiment is designed and the encouraging experimental results sh- w that the model based on the Maxwell tensor method is more close to the test results comparing with equivalent magnetic circuit method. Thus, the proposed modeling method makes the modeling results on radial suspension forces of the ac magnetic bearing more accurate, universal, and direct.