A challenge that is opposed to a commercial use of actuators like brakes and clutches based on magnetorheological fluids (MRF), are durable no-load losses, because a complete torque-free separation due to the permanent liquid intervention is inherently not yet possible. In this paper, the necessity of reducing these durable no-load losses will be shown by measurements performed with a MRF brake for high rotational speeds of 6000min−1. The detrimental high viscous torque motivates the introduction of a novel concept that allows a controlled movement of the MRF from an active shear gap into an inactive shear gap, enabling a complete separation of the fluid engaging surfaces. This behavior is modeled by the use of the ferrohydrodynamics and simulations are performed for different transitions between braking and idle mode. Images of high speed video capturing, showing the motion of MRF induced by a magnetic field, are presented for the validation of the modeling approach. Measurements performed with a realized proof-of-concept actuator show that the viscous induced drag torque can be reduced significantly.

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