Electrorheological (ER) and magnetorheological (MR) flow mode dampers can exhibit biviscous damping behavior. Such behavior is characterized by a high damping preyield region for low velocities, with a transition to a relatively lower postyield damping, once the damper force exceeds the yield force of the damper. The biviscous damping behavior is a result of leakage, defined as a second path of Newtonian flow in addition to the Bingham plastic flow through the ER or MR valve. We experimentally demonstrate such bilinear damping behavior in a monotube ER shock absorber. The ER fluid is typically assumed to behave as a Bingham plastic fluid. Thus, two perspectives are examined to predict damping performance of the ER monotube shock absorber. First, the quasi-steady Bingham plastic analysis is coupled with a mechanical analysis of the leakage effects. Second, a biviscous constitutive perspective is described that allows for the leakage effects to be described as an apparent preyield viscosity of the ER fluid. Both perspectives prove to be useful in describing damping performance of the ER monotube shock absorber.

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