A suspension system for the BiVACOR biventricular assist device (BiVAD) has been developed and tested. The device features two semi-open centrifugal impellers mounted on a common rotating hub. Flow balancing is achieved through the movement of the rotor in the axial direction. The rotor is suspended in the pump casings by an active magnetic suspension system in the axial direction and a passive hydrodynamic bearing in the radial direction. This paper investigates the axial movement capacity of the magnetic bearing system and the power consumption at various operating points. The force capacity of the passive hydrodynamic bearing is investigated using a viscous glycerol solution. Axial rotor movement in the range of +/-0.15 mm is confirmed and power consumption is under 15.5 W. The journal bearing is shown to stabilize the rotor in the radial direction at the required operating speed. Magnetic levitation is a viable suspension technique for the impeller of an artificial heart to improve device lifetime and reduce blood damage.
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