Degree Name

Master of Engineering – Research


Faculty of Engineering


MR fluids are smart materials that respond to a magnetic field by changing their rheological properties. This change in the yield shear stress of MR fluids is proportional to the magnetic field applied. Dampers with MR fluid as the working fluid have a damping response comparable to conventional synthetic oil dampers.

The smart nature of MR fluid enables real time semi-active control of damping, which makes them particularly suitable for motorcycle steering. This project involves the study of MR fluid, its application as a shock absorbing device and the total design and manufacture of an MR fluid steering damper for a motorcycle.

Motorcycle steering and the causes of erratic steering motions are investigated and a comparison between a manually adjustment damper and the proposed MR damper are discussed.

The design principles are discussed and applied to optimize the design of the MR valve using finite element analysis.

A full chapter is dedicated to a total bottom-up design of an MR fluid steering damper, while the chapter on design covers every aspect of the design, including the concept, the selection of material and components, design embodiment, the design of structural members, and technical production drawings.

The testing stage enabled the working range and functionality of the completed damper to be established and documented, and served to investigate any shortcomings in the design and lay the groundwork for further improvement in areas such as the damping force range, optimization of the MR valve, size and weight reduction, and reliability.

Finally, the project was concluded on an understanding that this design can be used as a foundation for future work with the aim of a commercial damper design that is effective (as an controllable damper in semi-active suspension systems), lightweight, aesthetically appealing, reliable, and at the same time be commercially viable by having a low production cost.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.