Development of Lorentz Force-Type Self-bearing Motor for an Alternative Axial Flow Blood Pump Design

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A Lorentz force-type self-bearing motor was developed to provide delivery of both motoring torque and levitation force for an alternative axial flow blood pump design with an enclosed impeller. The axial flow pumps currently available introduce electromagnetic coupling from the motor's stator to the impeller by means of permanent magnets (PMs) embedded in the tips of the pump's blades. This design has distinct disadvantages, for example, pumping efficiency and electromagnetic coupling transmission are compromised by the constrained or poor geometry of the blades and limited pole width of the PMs, respectively. In this research, a Lorentz force-type self-bearing motor was developed. It is composed of (i) an eight-pole PM hollow-cylindrical rotor assembly supposedly to house and enclose the impeller of an axial flow blood pump, and (ii) a six-pole stator with two sets of copper wire and different winding configurations to provide the motoring torque and levitating force for the rotor assembly. MATLAB's xPC Target interface hardware was used as the rapid prototyping tool for the development of the controller for the self-bearing motor. Experimental results on a free/simply supported rotor assembly validated the design feasibility and control algorithm effectiveness in providing both the motoring torque and levitation force for the rotor. When levitated, a maximum orbital displacement of 0.3 mm corresponding to 1050 rpm of the rotor was measured by two eddy current probes placed in the orthogonal direction. This design has the advantage of eliminating the trade-off between motoring torques, levitating force, and pumping efficiency of previous studies. It also indicated the benefits of enclosed-impeller design as having good dynamic response, linearity, and better reliability. The nonmechanical contact feature between rotating and stationary parts will further reduce hemolysis and thromboembolitic tendencies in a typical blood pump application.

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