This research aims to develop and characterize the behavior of a newly ideated valve that actuates based on magnetorheological fluid (MRF) in a volume surrounding a flexible thin-walled tube. This valve had the goal of reducing the obstruction and complexities within the pathway of fluid flow when compared to a commercial valve. A decrease in the obstructions would increase the efficiency of the valve. An iterative design process was employed to develop this valve through multiple preliminary concepts and two physical iterations. The first iteration presented multiple areas for improvement, which led to the second design. The second design was satisfactory, and thus was used in experimentation. A commercial needle valve of identical inlet and outlet geometry to the MRF valve was compared during these experiments. The experiment comparing valves was conducted in a test setup with a custom sensor arrangement built and characterized by preliminary tests. These tests included determining the K-factor for multiple fittings so that the valve’s effect on flow could be isolated. The experiments concluded that the MRF valve had a lesser flow resistance in the fully-open state than a similarly sized needle valve. The MRF valve maintained a low resistance of K = 0.110, while the needle valve was nearly triple this value at K = 0.318. When the closing characteristics of both valves are compared, the needle valve allowed the user more control in its closing characteristics. The MRF valve exhibited very little change in K-factor over the first portion of its closing then rapidly increased. While both valves demonstrated adequate flow control properties during this set of low-pressure tests, the MRF valve was shown to allow a higher volume flow rate in the fully-open state, indicating less flow obstruction.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Valves--Design and construction; Magnetorheological fluids; Hydraulic control; Fluid mechanics

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Manufacturing and Mechanical Systems Integration (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology (CET)


Mark W. Olles

Advisor/Committee Member

Alan Raisanen

Advisor/Committee Member

Martin K. Anselm


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes