Summary Of The Invention

These and other objects of the invention are attained by an apparatus which, in one aspect, is a permanent magnet device, comprising a permanent magnet having north and south pole faces, a first pole piece, a second pole piece, a first control coil, a second control coil, and circuit means, the first pole piece positioned adjacent the north pole face of the permanent magnet and including a first path portion, a second path portion and a third portion, the first path portion extending beyond a perimeter of the north pole face and the second path portion extending beyond the perimeter of the north pole face to define first and second flux paths for magnetic flux emanating from the north pole face of the permanent magnet, the first path portion of the first pole piece connected to the second path portion of the first pole piece by the third portion which extends across the north pole face of the permanent magnet, the second pole piece positioned adjacent the south pole face and including a first path portion and a second path portion, the first path portion extending beyond a perimeter of the south pole face and substantially aligned with the first path portion of the first pole piece, the second path portion extending beyond the perimeter of the south pole face and substantially aligned with the second path portion of the first pole piece, the first control coil positioned around the first path portion of the first pole piece, the second control coil positioned around the second path portion of the first pole piece, the circuit means connected to each of the first control coil and the second control coil to alternatingly energize the first coil and the second coil in a timed sequential manner.

Another aspect of the present invention provides a method for controlling the path of magnetic flux from a permanent magnet which involves placing a first pole piece adjacent a first pole face of the permanent magnet so as to have at least first and second path portions extending beyond a perimeter of the first pole face. A second pole piece is placed adjacent a second pole face of the permanent magnet so as to include at least one portion which substantially aligns with the first and second path portions of the first pole piece. A first control coil is placed along and around the first path portion of the first pole piece and a second control coil is placed along and around the second path portion of the first pole piece. The first control coil is repeatedly energized in a permanent magnet magnetic flux opposing manner so as to prevent magnetic flux of the permanent magnet from traversing the first path portion of the first pole piece, and the second control coil is repeatedly energized in a permanent magnet magnetic flux opposing manner so as to prevent magnetic flux of the permanent magnet from traversing the second path portion of the first pole piece.

Yet another aspect of the present invention provides a method for controlling the path of magnetic flux from a permanent magnet by placing a first pole piece adjacent a first pole face of the permanent magnet so as to have at least first and second path portions extending beyond a perimeter of the first pole face. A second pole piece is placed adjacent a second pole face of the permanent magnet so as to include at least one portion which substantially aligns with the first and second path portions of the first pole piece. A first control coil is placed along and around the first path portion of the first pole piece, and a second control coil is placed along and around the second path portion of the first pole piece. The following steps are alternatingly performed in a repeated manner:

(i) energizing the first control coil in a permanent magnet magnetic flux aiding manner so as to couple with substantially all magnetic flux of the permanent magnet such that substantially no magnetic flux of the permanent magnet traverses the second path portion of the first pole piece when the first control coil is so energized; and

(ii) energizing the second control coil in a permanent magnet magnetic flux opposing manner so as to couple with substantially all magnetic flux of the permanent magnet such that substantially no magnetic flux of the permanent magnet traverses the first path portion of the first pole piece when the second control coil is so energized.

A further aspect of the present invention provides method for controlling the path of magnetic flux from a permanent magnet by placing a first pole piece adjacent a first pole face of the permanent magnet so as to have at least first and second path portions extending beyond a perimeter of the first pole face, and placing a second pole piece adjacent a second pole face of the permanent magnet so as to include at least one portion which substantially aligns with the first and second path portions of the first pole piece. A first control coil is placed along and around the first path portion of the first pole piece, and a second control coil is placed along and around the second path portion of the first pole piece. The following steps are alternatingly performed in a repeated manner:

(i) energizing the first control coil in a permanent magnet magnetic flux aiding manner so as to couple with substantially all magnetic flux of the permanent magnet such that substantially no magnetic flux of the permanent magnet traverses the second path portion of the first pole piece when the first control coil is so energized; and

(ii) energizing the second control coil in a permanent magnet magnetic flux opposing manner so as to couple with substantially all magnetic flux of the permanent magnet such that substantially no magnetic flux of the permanent magnet traverses the first path portion of the first pole piece when the second control coil is so energized.

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