Systems employing passive magnetic bearing elements having minimal power losses are provided. Improved stabilizing elements are shown, employing periodic magnet arrays and inductively loaded circuits, but with improved characteristics compared to the elements disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 5,495,221 entitled "Dynamically Stable Magnetic Suspension/Bearing System." The improvements relate to increasing the magnitude of the force derivative, while at the same time reducing the power dissipated during the normal operation of the bearing system, to provide a passive bearing system that has virtually no losses under equilibrium conditions, that is, when the supported system is not subject to any accelerations except those of gravity.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.