The Winslow effect (increased viscosity of a colloidal suspension with an applied electric field) has been suggested as a possible medium for torque transmission since its discovery by Winslow nearly half a century ago. Unfortunately, despite efforts to improve the fluids and eliminate their shortcomings, the dream has been largely unrealised. Recent advances in the engineering aspects of electrorheologically activated devices has led to the development of techniques which offer the possibility of producing workable actuators. Work at the University of Hull has shown how existing electrorheological fluids may be made to work satisfactorily by careful consideration of the fluids' physical, as well as chemical and electrical properties. A related electroviscous effect has been discovered which in some cases reduces, or even obviates, the need for the solid particle suspension.
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