The Doctor of Electro-Magnetic Trades
In January 2010, Dr. Zareh Soghomonian was granted his latest of dozens of patents as an inventor in the field of electro-magnetic power conversion technology, for a design useful in motors that allows heat to be radiated away from magnetic circuits. A strong-willed Armenian who is passionate about his community, Soghomonian says there are many Armenians who go unrecognized for their achievements. “We have a lot of brain power within the Armenian community, which should be acknowledged,” he says.
Soghomonian lives in northern Virginia, where he works as Director of Power Systems Technologies for BMT Syntek Technologies, a defense contractor. His achievements were publicly recognized when Barron’s Who’s Who (USA), 2000, awarded him the Century Award and Gold Medal as one of 500 global leaders of the last century in science and engineering. In his work today, Soghomonian advises the U.S. Navy on weapon systems, hybrid-electric propulsion, power systems, and renewable energies.
“I’ve always had an interest in this field,” says Soghomonian. “As a kid, I did a lot of audio, video, electro-magnetic work. Meaning, I would read and design things from scratch and moved on to bigger units from there.” He earned his Ph.D. in Electrical, Electronics & Systems Engineering at the University of Wales, in Cardiff, U.K., in 1995
Here are four patents by Soghomonian that enhance our daily lives, whether we know it or not.
Non-destructive testing system for magnetic material
Less scrap metal
Going online in 1995 after two years of development, this patent validates a non-destructive evaluation technique of the magnetic, mechanical and physical properties of electrical steel (also known as Silicon-Iron steel) as it is going through the processing line. The information is gathered so that the steel is made within controlled parameters. Later, the steel is used extensively in electrical motors, generators, transformers, transducers, actuators and sensors for everyday products like air-conditioners, power generation systems, and refrigerators. Why is the testing system essential? If the properties of metal aren’t controlled, it may become a heap of scrap that can’t be used by manufacturers.
Accurate water bills
When water flows into people’s homes, the water company must have a way of accurately measuring the amount of energy used to pump it in order to charge consumers fairly. This invention is a battery-operated, radio-controlled electromagnetic flow meter that can run for roughly 10 years on a single battery. Previously, metering was done mechanically and lacked accuracy, which resulted in consumers getting higher bills and water utility companies using surplus energy to distribute water. The new flow meter was completed and launched in 1999-2000. With this battery-operated system in place, metering is accurate — even with a dripping faucet.
In-wheel proportion system
Compact, light motors
Accomplished after five years of development, this invention takes out the bulky front-end car engine and replaces it with small motors near or within the wheels. The innovation makes the traditional automobile power train (engine/gearbox/ transmission link/differential and couplers) unnecessary, achieving the same function electronically with magnet motors ranging from 20 kW to 350 kW per wheel. Each motor is locally controlled with its own microprocessors and communicates with a master controller that regulates power output. The technology was demonstrated for bikes, wheel chairs, All Train Vehicles, cars, robots, trucks and other commercial and specialized military applications.
Probing inside electromagnetic components of machines
With the advances made in Soft-Magnetic composite (SMC), various sensors can now be embedded within components in order to evaluate various mechanical, physical and electromagnetic functions. The information gathered can be transmitted to the machine operator, who can respond appropriately by regulating the machine’s power, for example. A sensor can be placed within the mold of iron magnetic powder used to forge a motor, for example, and the sensor will be held there after heat treatment solidifies the structure of the motor. This sensor will now detect temperature changes, allowing a car driver to react to overheating symptoms without shutting down the whole engine. If the car goes over a bump and something breaks, causing a mechanical failure, the sensor will detect this, allowing the driver to regulate the car’s power and potentially address the problem. The technological innovation of embedded sensing is critical in preventing accidents and failures of machines and permits more graceful control of operation.