Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Director

Colin Britcher

Committee Member

Thomas Alberts

Committee Member

Tian-Bing Xu

Committee Member

Mark Schoenenberger


Wind tunnels are used to study forces and moments acting on an aerodynamic body. While most results involve some interference from the mechanical supports used to hold the model, a Magnetic Suspension and Balance System (MSBS) is void of these interferences and presents an ideal test scenario. To further investigate the feasibility of dynamic stability testing at supersonic speeds using a MSBS, a preliminary design idea is currently being developed using an existing MSBS in a subsonic wind tunnel. This review focuses on the development of a mathematical model to more accurately portray the capabilities of the 6 inch Massachusetts Institute of Technology/NASA MSBS used in the preliminary study. This finite element analysis is performed in COMSOL Multiphysics software and involves a representation of the coils and iron yoke assemblies that form the electromagnet array of the MSBS. Experimental validation of the model is also discussed, with field surveys used to validate COMSOL results.


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