Load and stiffness of a planar ferrofluid pocket bearing

S. G.E. Lampaert*, J. W. Spronck, R. A.J. van Ostayen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
83 Downloads (Pure)


A ferrofluid pocket bearings is a type of hydrostatic bearing that uses a ferrofluid seal to encapsulate a pocket of air to carry a load. Their properties, combining a high stiffness with low (viscous) friction and absence of stick-slip, make them interesting for applications that require fast and high precision positioning. Knowledge on the exact performance of these types of bearings is up to now not available. This article presents a method to model the load carrying capacity and normal stiffness characteristics of this type of bearings. Required for this is the geometry of the bearing, the shape of the magnetic field and the magnetization strength of the fluid. This method is experimentally validated and is shown to be correct for describing the load and stiffness characteristics of any fixed shape of ferrofluid pocket bearing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-25
JournalInstitution of Mechanical Engineers. Proceedings. Part J: Journal of Engineering Tribology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • hydrostatic bearing
  • magnetics
  • mathematical modelling
  • planar bearing
  • Precision engineering


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