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Solved with COMSOL Multiphysics 4.

Electrodynamic Bearing
Introduction
This model illustrates the working principle of a passive electrodynamic bearing. An
electrically conducting rotor rotating in a magnetic field produced by a permanent
magnets induces eddy currents on the conducting rotor. The eddy currents, in turn,
produce a magnetic field that opposes the magnetic fields by the magnets and induces
a force that opposes the motion of the rotor. The radial displacement of the rotor is
always balanced by the combination of attractive and repulsive magnetic forces, thus
the rotor is rotating at the center with a uniform gap. The magnetic forces are
calculated as a function of radial displacement.
Aluminum shaft

External force
Aluminum rotor

Magnets
Iron
z
y
x
Gap
External force

Figure 1: Model illustration of an electrodynamic bearing. The conducting rotor and


stator with permanent magnets and iron poles are shown.

Model Definition
Setup the problem in a 3D modeling space using Magnetic and Electric Fields physics
interface. The model is illustrated in Figure 1. The model consists of a rotor with
conducting aluminum. The stator is made up of permanent magnets and iron pieces
next to the permanent magnets. During normal operation, a uniform gap is
maintained. However, if an external force is applied on the shaft while it is rotating, as

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shown in Figure 1, the rotor is pushed off-centered and an off-centered eddy current
is produced. This induced eddy current then interacts with the magnetic fields to
develop forces on either sides of the shaft both in x and y directions. The force
developed on the rotor is rather complicated. Force generated along x-direction is such
that it opposes the change in the gap; a repulsive force where the gap is small and an
attractive force where the gap is large. Whereas the force generated along y-direction
is dependent on rotational direction of the rotor as well as the off-centered gap. The
resultant force acts opposite to the external force and brings the shaft back to its
original position. The bearing illustrated in this model is a two magnet-row inner rotor
bearing. The load capacity and the stiffness of this type of bearing can be improved by
adding an extra third row to the bearing.
Assign the rotational speed of the conducting rotor and a shaft with a Velocity
(Lorentz Term). Calculation the net force on the rotor using the Lorentz force
equation F = J B , where J is the current density and B is the magnetic flux
density. Perform the Parametric Sweep study step to calculate the force as a function
of off-centered gap.

Results and Discussion


The steady state analysis is performed to calculate the induced eddy current force on
the conducting rotor. The rotor is rotating at 80,000 rpm. The magnetic flux density
norm at x-offset = 1.5 mm is shown in Figure 2.
Figure 3 and Figure 4 show the induced eddy currents on the conducting rotor at
x-offset = 1.5 mm and x-offset = -1.5 mm.
Figure 5 displays the rotor force on x-direction as a function of x-offset. This figure
shows that the force is created to oppose the change in rotor position.
Figure 6 shows the rotor force on y-direction as a function of x-offset. The force on
y-direction is decreasing with increase in x-offset in negative x-direction. However,
this will be reversed if the rotor is rotating in opposite direction.

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Figure 2: Magnetic flux density norm at 80000 rpm.

Figure 3: The current density on the rotor surface at x-offset = 1.5 mm.

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Figure 4: The current density on the rotor surface at x-offset = -1.5 mm.

Figure 5: The rotor force on x-direction as a function of x-offset.

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Figure 6: The rotor force on y-direction as a function of x-offset.

Notes About the COMSOL Implementation


Use the Magnetic and Electric Fields physics interface to model the electrodynamic
bearing. Incorporate the angular speed of the rotor as a Velocity (Lorentz Term). Add
the Parametric Sweep study step to calculate the rotor force as a function of offset
position.

Model Library path: ACDC_Module/Motors_and_Actuators/


electrodynamic_bearing

Modeling Instructions
NEW

1 In the New window, click the Model Wizard button.

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MODEL WIZARD

1 In the Model Wizard window, click the 3D button.


2 In the Select physics tree, select AC/DC>Magnetic and Electric Fields (mef).
3 Click the Add button.
4 Click the Study button.
5 In the tree, select Preset Studies>Stationary.
6 Click the Done button.
GLOBAL DEFINITIONS

Enter the model parameters.

Parameters
1 On the Home toolbar, click Parameters.
2 In the Parameters settings window, locate the Parameters section.
3 In the table, enter the following settings:
Name

Expression

Description

W0

80000[rpm]

Rotational speed

xpos

0[mm]

X-position offset

airgap

2[mm]

Airgap at normal position

asr

4[mm]

Aluminum shaft radius

act

3[mm]

Aluminum cylinder thickness

mw

5[mm]

Magnet width

mh

6[mm]

Magnet height

bh

20[mm]

Bearing height

ash

30[mm]

Aluminum shaft height

mB

1.4[T]

Magnet flux density

You will use the x-position offset as a sweep parameter later for Parametric Sweep
study.
GEOMETRY 1

Use the instructions below to construct the model geometry. First, create the
geometry of aluminum rotor.
1 In the Model Builder window, under Component 1 click Geometry 1.
2 In the Geometry settings window, locate the Units section.

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3 From the Length unit list, choose mm.

Cylinder 1
1 On the Geometry toolbar, click Cylinder.
2 In the Cylinder settings window, locate the Size and Shape section.
3 In the Radius edit field, type asr.
4 In the Height edit field, type ash.
5 Click the Build Selected button.

Cylinder 2
1 On the Geometry toolbar, click Cylinder.
2 In the Cylinder settings window, locate the Size and Shape section.
3 In the Radius edit field, type asr+act.
4 In the Height edit field, type bh.
5 Locate the Position section. In the z edit field, type (ash-bh)/2.
6 Click the Build Selected button.

Next, design the magnets and the iron pieces on a plane, and then revolve the plane to
generate the 3D geometry.

Work Plane 1
1 On the Geometry toolbar, click Work Plane.
2 In the Work Plane settings window, locate the Plane Definition section.
3 From the Plane list, choose xz-plane.

Rectangle 1
1 In the Model Builder window, under Component 1>Geometry 1>Work Plane 1

right-click Plane Geometry and choose Rectangle.


2 In the Rectangle settings window, locate the Size section.
3 In the Width edit field, type mw.
4 In the Height edit field, type bh.
5 Locate the Position section. In the xw edit field, type asr+act+airgap.
6 In the yw edit field, type (ash-bh)/2.

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7 Click to expand the Layers section. In the table, enter the following settings:
Layer name

Thickness (mm)

Layer 1

(bh-2*mh)/3

Layer 2

mh

8 Select the Layers on top check box.


9 Click the Build Selected button.
10 On the Work Plane toolbar, click Close.

Revolve 1
1 On the Geometry toolbar, click Revolve.
2 In the Revolve settings window, locate the Revolution Angles section.
3 In the End angle edit field, type 90.
4 Click the Build Selected button.

Rotate 1
1 On the Geometry toolbar, click Rotate.
2 Select the object rev1 only.
3 In the Rotate settings window, locate the Input section.
4 Select the Keep input objects check box.
5 Locate the Rotation Angle section. In the Rotation edit field, type range(90,90,
270).

6 Click the Build Selected button.


7 Click the Go to Default 3D View button on the Graphics toolbar.

Move 1
1 On the Geometry toolbar, click Move.
2 Select the objects rev1, rot1(1), rot1(2), and rot1(3) only.
3 In the Move settings window, locate the Displacement section.
4 In the x edit field, type -xpos.

Finish the geometry by enclosing the bearing with a hollow sphere.

Sphere 1
1 On the Geometry toolbar, click Sphere.
2 In the Sphere settings window, locate the Size section.
3 In the Radius edit field, type 1.5*bh.

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4 Locate the Position section. In the z edit field, type ash/2.


5 Click to expand the Layers section.
6 In the table, enter the following settings:
Layer name

Thickness (mm)

Layer 1

7 Click the Build All Objects button.


8 Click the Go to Default 3D View button on the Graphics toolbar.
9 Click the Wireframe Rendering button on the Graphics toolbar.

The final geometry should look as shown in the figure above.


Define the domain selections for iron, magnets and the aluminum rotor.
DEFINITIONS

Explicit 1
1 On the Definitions toolbar, click Explicit.
2 In the Explicit settings window, locate the Input Entities section.
3 Click Paste Selection.
4 Go to the Paste Selection dialog box.
5 In the Selection edit field, type 6-7, 10-11, 14-15, 22, 24, 26, 29, 31, 33.

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6 Click the OK button.


7 Right-click Component 1>Definitions>Explicit 1 and choose Rename.
8 Go to the Rename Explicit dialog box and type Iron parts in the New name edit

field.
9 Click OK.

Explicit 2
1 On the Definitions toolbar, click Explicit.
2 In the Explicit settings window, locate the Input Entities section.
3 Click Paste Selection.
4 Go to the Paste Selection dialog box.
5 In the Selection edit field, type 16-19.
6 Click the OK button.
7 Right-click Component 1>Definitions>Explicit 2 and choose Rename.
8 Go to the Rename Explicit dialog box and type Rotating parts in the New name

edit field.

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9 Click OK.

Explicit 3
1 On the Definitions toolbar, click Explicit.
2 In the Explicit settings window, locate the Input Entities section.
3 Click Paste Selection.
4 Go to the Paste Selection dialog box.
5 In the Selection edit field, type 8-9, 23, 30.
6 Click the OK button.
7 Right-click Component 1>Definitions>Explicit 3 and choose Rename.
8 Go to the Rename Explicit dialog box and type Magnets up in the New name edit

field.

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9 Click OK.

Explicit 4
1 On the Definitions toolbar, click Explicit.
2 In the Explicit settings window, locate the Input Entities section.
3 Click Paste Selection.
4 Go to the Paste Selection dialog box.
5 In the Selection edit field, type 12-13, 25, 32.
6 Click the OK button.
7 Right-click Component 1>Definitions>Explicit 4 and choose Rename.
8 Go to the Rename Explicit dialog box and type Magnets down in the New name edit

field.

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9 Click OK.

Next, assign the domain selection for the Infinite Element Domains.

Explicit 5
1 On the Definitions toolbar, click Explicit.
2 In the Explicit settings window, locate the Input Entities section.
3 Click Paste Selection.
4 Go to the Paste Selection dialog box.
5 In the Selection edit field, type 1-4, 20-21, 27-28.
6 Click the OK button.
7 Right-click Component 1>Definitions>Explicit 5 and choose Rename.
8 Go to the Rename Explicit dialog box and type IED in the New name edit field.
9 Click OK.

Explicit 6
1 On the Definitions toolbar, click Explicit.
2 In the Explicit settings window, locate the Input Entities section.
3 Click Paste Selection.
4 Go to the Paste Selection dialog box.
5 In the Selection edit field, type 6-15, 22-26, 29-33.

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6 Click the OK button.


7 Right-click Component 1>Definitions>Explicit 6 and choose Rename.
8 Go to the Rename Explicit dialog box and type Stator magnets and iron in the
New name edit field.
9 Click OK.

Define an integration operator on the rotor to compute the Lorentz force.

Integration 1
1 On the Definitions toolbar, click Component Couplings and choose Integration.
2 In the Integration settings window, locate the Operator Name section.
3 In the Operator name edit field, type intop_rotor.
4 Locate the Source Selection section. From the Selection list, choose Rotating parts.
5 Right-click Component 1>Definitions>Integration 1and choose Rename.
6 Go to the Rename Integration dialog box and type Integration over rotor in the
New name edit field.
7 Click OK.

Define the variable for the magnetic force on the rotor.

Variables 1
1 On the Definitions toolbar, click Local Variables.

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2 In the Variables settings window, locate the Variables section.


3 In the table, enter the following settings:
Name

Expression

Unit

Description

Fx

intop_rotor(mef.FLt
zx)

Rotor force in
x-direction

Fy

intop_rotor(mef.FLt
zy)

Rotor force in
y-direction

The magnetic forces are calculated using the volume integral of the Lorentz force.
Here, the mef. prefix is for the Magnetic and Electric Fields physics interface.
Add the Infinite Element Domain feature on the outer spherical domains.

Infinite Element Domain 1


1 On the Definitions toolbar, click Infinite Element Domain.
2 In the Infinite Element Domain settings window, locate the Domain Selection section.
3 From the Selection list, choose IED.
4 Locate the Geometry section. From the Type list, choose Spherical.
5 Find the Center coordinate subsection. In the table, enter the following settings:
x (m)

y (m)

z (m)

15[mm]

View 1
Hide the section of external domain and stator to show the aluminum rotor.
1 In the Model Builder window, under Component 1>Definitions right-click View 1 and

choose Hide Geometric Entities.


2 In the Hide Geometric Entities settings window, locate the Geometric Entity Selection

section.
3 Click Paste Selection.
4 Go to the Paste Selection dialog box.
5 In the Selection edit field, type 2, 5-6, 8, 10, 12, 14.
6 Click the OK button.

Setup the Magnetic and Electric Fields physics. Assign the rotational velocity of the
rotating disc using the Velocity (Lorentz Term).

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MAGNETIC AND ELECTRIC FIELDS

Ampre's Law and Current Conservation 2


1 On the Physics toolbar, click Domains and choose Ampre's Law and Current
Conservation.
2 In the Ampre's Law and Current Conservation settings window, locate the Domain
Selection section.
3 From the Selection list, choose Magnets up.
4 Locate the Magnetic Field section. From the Constitutive relation list, choose
Remanent flux density.
5 Specify the Br vector as
0

mB

6 Right-click Component 1>Magnetic and Electric Fields>Ampre's Law and Current


Conservation 2 and choose Rename.
7 Go to the Rename Ampre's Law and Current Conservation dialog box and type
Magnets Up in the New name edit field.

8 Click OK.

Ampre's Law and Current Conservation 3


1 On the Physics toolbar, click Domains and choose Ampre's Law and Current
Conservation.
2 In the Ampre's Law and Current Conservation settings window, locate the Domain
Selection section.
3 From the Selection list, choose Magnets down.
4 Locate the Magnetic Field section. From the Constitutive relation list, choose
Remanent flux density.
5 Specify the Br vector as
0

-mB

6 Right-click Component 1>Magnetic and Electric Fields>Ampre's Law and Current


Conservation 3 and choose Rename.

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7 Go to the Rename Ampre's Law and Current Conservation dialog box and type
Magnets Down in the New name edit field.

8 Click OK.

Velocity (Lorentz Term) 1


1 On the Physics toolbar, click Domains and choose Velocity (Lorentz Term).
2 In the Velocity (Lorentz Term) settings window, locate the Domain Selection section.
3 From the Selection list, choose Rotating parts.
4 Locate the Velocity (Lorentz Term) section. Specify the v vector as
-y*W0

x*W0

MATERIALS

Assign materials to the model. First, assign air in the exterior regions with a small
conductivity value. This small value of the conductivity will help for solver
convergence.
1 On the Home toolbar, click Add Material.
ADD MATERIAL

1 Go to the Add Material window.


2 In the tree, select Built-In>Air.
3 In the Add Material window, click Add to Component.
MATERIALS

Air
1 In the Model Builder window, under Component 1>Materials click Air.
2 In the Material settings window, locate the Material Contents section.
3 In the table, enter the following settings:
Property

Name

Value

Electrical conductivity

sigma

1[S/m]

Next, specify aluminum for the rotating parts.

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ADD MATERIAL

1 Go to the Add Material window.


2 In the tree, select Built-In>Aluminum.
3 In the Add material window, click Add to Component.
4 Close the Add Material window.
MATERIALS

Aluminum
1 In the Model Builder window, under Component 1>Materials click Aluminum.
2 In the Material settings window, locate the Geometric Entity Selection section.
3 From the Selection list, choose Rotating parts.

Finish the material assignment by adding the iron.

Material 3
1 On the Home toolbar, click New Material.
2 In the Material settings window, locate the Geometric Entity Selection section.
3 From the Selection list, choose Iron parts.
4 Locate the Material Contents section. In the table, enter the following settings:
Property

Name

Value

Electrical conductivity

sigma

Relative permittivity

epsilonr

Relative permeability

mur

4000

5 Right-click Component 1>Materials>Material 3and choose Rename.


6 Go to the Rename Material dialog box and type Iron in the New name edit field.
7 Click OK.
MESH 1

Use relatively coarse mesh in the surrounding air domain and refined mesh on the
stator iron and magnets. Add the boundary layer mesh on the aluminum rotor to
resolve the eddy current distribution in this domain.

Size 1
1 In the Model Builder window, under Component 1 right-click Mesh 1 and choose Size.
2 In the Size settings window, locate the Geometric Entity Selection section.

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3 From the Geometric entity level list, choose Domain.


4 From the Selection list, choose Rotating parts.
5 Locate the Element Size section. Click the Custom button.
6 Locate the Element Size Parameters section. Select the Maximum element size check

box.
7 In the associated edit field, type 2.

Size 2
1 In the Model Builder window, right-click Mesh 1 and choose Size.
2 In the Size settings window, locate the Geometric Entity Selection section.
3 From the Geometric entity level list, choose Domain.
4 From the Selection list, choose Stator magnets and iron.
5 Locate the Element Size section. Click the Custom button.
6 Locate the Element Size Parameters section. Select the Maximum element size check

box.
7 In the associated edit field, type 3.

Boundary Layers 1
1 Right-click Mesh 1 and choose Boundary Layers.
2 In the Boundary Layers settings window, locate the Domain Selection section.
3 From the Geometric entity level list, choose Domain.
4 Select Domain 16 only.

Boundary Layer Properties


1 In the Model Builder window, under Component 1>Mesh 1>Boundary Layers 1 click
Boundary Layer Properties.
2 In the Boundary Layer Properties settings window, locate the Boundary Selection

section.
3 Click Paste Selection.
4 Go to the Paste Selection dialog box.
5 In the Selection edit field, type 50-51,92,107.
6 Click the OK button.
7 In the Boundary Layer Properties settings window, locate the Boundary Layer
Properties section.
8 In the Number of boundary layers edit field, type 4.

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9 In the Boundary layer stretching factor edit field, type 1.22.


10 In the Thickness adjustment factor edit field, type 6.
11 Click the Build Selected button.

Convert 1
1 In the Model Builder window, right-click Mesh 1 and choose More
Operations>Convert.
2 In the Convert settings window, locate the Geometric Entity Selection section.
3 From the Geometric entity level list, choose Boundary.
4 Click Paste Selection.
5 Go to the Paste Selection dialog box.
6 In the Selection edit field, type 52,53.
7 Click the OK button.
8 Click the Build Selected button.

Free Tetrahedral 1
1 Right-click Mesh 1 and choose Free Tetrahedral.
2 In the Free Tetrahedral settings window, locate the Domain Selection section.
3 From the Geometric entity level list, choose Domain.
4 Click Paste Selection.
5 Go to the Paste Selection dialog box.
6 In the Selection edit field, type 5-15,17-19, 22-26, 29-33.
7 Click the OK button.
8 Click the Build Selected button.

Swept 1
Right-click Mesh 1 and choose Swept.

Distribution 1
1 In the Model Builder window, under Component 1>Mesh 1 right-click Swept 1 and

choose Distribution.

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2 Right-click Mesh 1 and choose Build All.

Compare the mesh with the above figure.


STUDY 1

1 In the Model Builder window, click Study 1.


2 In the Study settings window, locate the Study Settings section.
3 Clear the Generate default plots check box.

Perform a Parametric Sweep study step to calculate the rotor force in x and y
directions for different rotor x-offset positions. Vary the x-offset from -1.5 mm to
1.5 mm.

Parametric Sweep
1 On the Study toolbar, click Parametric Sweep.
2 In the Parametric Sweep settings window, locate the Study Settings section.
3 Click the Add button.
4 In the table, choose the xpos parameter.
5 Click the Range button.
6 Go to the Range dialog box.

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7 In the Start edit field, type -1.5.


8 In the Step edit field, type 0.5.
9 In the Stop edit field, type 1.5.
10 Click the Replace button.
11 On the Study toolbar, click Compute.
RESULTS

Data Sets
Create a data sets for result visualization only in the rotor domain.
1 In the Model Builder window, under Results>Data Sets right-click Solution 2 and

choose Duplicate.
2 Right-click Results>Data Sets>Solution 3 and choose Add Selection.
3 In the Selection settings window, locate the Geometric Entity Selection section.
4 From the Geometric entity level list, choose Domain.
5 From the Selection list, choose Rotating parts.
6 Select the Propagate to lower dimensions check box.

Use the following instructions to generate the plot from Figure 2 to Figure 6. First,
reproduce the magnetic flux density plot shown in Figure 2.
7 Click the Go to Default 3D View button on the Graphics toolbar.

3D Plot Group 1
1 On the Results toolbar, click 3D Plot Group.
2 In the Model Builder window, under Results right-click 3D Plot Group 1 and choose
Volume.
3 In the Volume settings window, locate the Expression section.
4 Click Replace Expression in the upper-right corner of the Expression section. From

the menu, choose Magnetic and Electric Fields>Magnetic>Magnetic flux density norm
(mef.normB).
5 On the 3D Plot Group 1 toolbar, click Plot.

Generate the current density plots as shown in Figure 3 and Figure 4.

3D Plot Group 2
1 On the Results toolbar, click 3D Plot Group.
2 In the 3D Plot Group settings window, locate the Data section.

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3 From the Data set list, choose Solution 3.


4 On the 3D Plot Group 2 toolbar, click Volume.
5 In the Volume settings window, locate the Expression section.
6 Click Replace Expression in the upper-right corner of the Expression section. From

the menu, choose Magnetic and Electric Fields>Currents and Charge>Current density
norm (mef.normJ).
7 On the 3D Plot Group 2 toolbar, click Arrow Surface.
8 In the Arrow Surface settings window, locate the Expression section.
9 Click Replace Expression in the upper-right corner of the Expression section. From

the menu, choose Magnetic and Electric Fields>Currents and Charge>Current density
(mef.Jx,mef.Jy,mef.Jz).
10 Locate the Coloring and Style section. From the Arrow length list, choose Logarithmic.
11 From the Placement list, choose Elements.
12 On the 3D Plot Group 2 toolbar, click Plot.
13 Click the Go to Default 3D View button on the Graphics toolbar.

3D Plot Group 3
1 Right-click 3D Plot Group 2 and choose Duplicate.
2 In the 3D Plot Group settings window, locate the Data section.
3 From the Parameter value (xpos) list, choose -1.5.
4 On the 3D Plot Group 3 toolbar, click Plot. Compare the current density plot you just

created with that shown in Figure 4.


Finally, generate the force plots as a function of x-offset and compare with Figure 5
and Figure 6.

1D Plot Group 4
1 On the Results toolbar, click 1D Plot Group.
2 In the 1D Plot Group settings window, locate the Data section.
3 From the Data set list, choose Solution 2.
4 On the 1D Plot Group 4 toolbar, click Global.
5 In the Global settings window, locate the y-axis data section.
6 Click Replace Expression in the upper-right corner of the Expression section. From

the menu, choose Rotor force in x-direction (Fx).


7 On the 1D Plot Group 4 toolbar, click Plot.

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1D Plot Group 5
1 On the Results toolbar, click 1D Plot Group.
2 In the 1D Plot Group settings window, locate the Data section.
3 From the Data set list, choose Solution 2.
4 On the 1D Plot Group 5 toolbar, click Global.
5 In the Global settings window, locate the y-axis data section.
6 Click Replace Expression in the upper-right corner of the Expression section. From

the menu, choose Rotor force in y-direction (Fy).


7 On the 1D Plot Group 5 toolbar, click Plot.

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