Rheostatic Fluids

Electro-rheostatic (ER) and magneto-rheostatic (MR) materials are fluids, which can experience a dramatic change in their viscosity. These fluids can change from a thick fluid (similar to motor oil) to nearly a solid substance within the span of a millisecond when exposed to a magnetic or electric field; the effect can be completely reversed just as quickly when the field is removed. MR fluids experience a viscosity change when exposed to a magnetic field, while ER fluids experience similar changes in an electric field. The composition of each type of smart fluid varies widely. The most common form of MR fluid consists of tiny iron particles suspended in oil, while ER fluids can be as simple as milk chocolate or cornstarch and oil.

MR fluids are being developed for use in car shocks, damping washing machine vibration, prosthetic limbs, exercise equipment, and surface polishing of machine parts. ER fluids have mainly been developed for use in clutches and valves, as well as engine mounts designed to reduce noise and vibration in vehicles. http://webdocs.cs.ualberta.ca/~database/MEMS/sma_mems/smrt.html

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