Fluid shockers

By Barry Fox Motorola is patenting a shock absorber for cars in which motion is damped by a fluid whose viscosity increases in an electric field. This “electro-rheological” fluid is sealed in a container between two electrodes that can apply a potential of thousands of volts, giving the driver push-button control over the car’s ride-damping on bumpy roads. When the weather is cold, the fluid becomes more viscous. To compensate for this, Motorola proposes putting a bimetallic strip inside the cylinder (GB 2 330 891), attached to one of the electrodes. When the fluid is cold, the strip bends towards the opposite electrode, allowing some of the charge to leak away. This reduces the voltage,
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