This study addresses the application of MR (magnetorheological) isolators to vibration isolation of precision payloads for aerial vehicles. To this end, a precision payload in an aerial vehicle is modeled as a six-degree-of-freedom (DOF) lumped parameter model of a sensor assembly. An MR isolator is modeled as a 3-DOF passive spring-damping element and a 3-DOF semi-active yield force due to the yield stress of an MR fluid. Three MR isolators are configured with equal installation angles between the precision payload and the base structure in the aerial vehicle. The governing equations of motion for the MR vibration isolation system of the precision payload for the aerial vehicle are derived and then key parameters of the MR isolators, such as stiffness, damping, and isolator orientation, are determined via a global optimization method. The simulated response of the passive MR vibration isolation system with no magnetic field control input and constant magnetic field control input are presented and analyzed under different excitation conditions. To improve the passive MR vibration isolation performance, a linear quadratic Gaussian (LQG) control algorithm is designed. Finally, simulated responses of the semi-active MR vibration isolation performance using LQG control are evaluated and compared with those of passive (zero or constant field) MR vibration isolation systems.

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