Magnetic bearings have relatively low power consumption compared to fluid film and rolling element bearings. They are now candidates for supporting gas turbines and aeropropulsion engines. This paper describes the design and construction of permanent magnet biased, actively controlled magnetic bearings for a flexible rotor. The rotor was originally supported in fluid film bearings consuming as much as 3000 watts of power. For the magnetic bearing, both permanent magnets and electromagnets are used in a configuration which effectively provides the necessary fluxes in the appropriate air gaps to support the rotor. The theoretical development related to the bearing design is presented along with some experimental performance results. The results include measurements of power consumption, load capacity, bearing linearized coefficients, and the dynamic response of the rotor. The measured total power consumption, excluding shaft losses, was 210 watts in the permanent magnet biased bearing.

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