Energy and Propulsion Expert Gives Insight Behind Research, Concepts, and Collaboration
Posted: December 22, 2023
When people come together, great things can be achieved.
Ratnak Sok serves as an Associate Professor at Waseda University in Tokyo, as well as an associate editor for three SAE Journals:
- SAE International Journal of Electrified Vehicles
- SAE International Journal of Commercial Vehicles
- SAE International Journal of Sustainable Transportation, Energy, Environment, & Policy
Sok spoke to us about his publication history, including his latest paper Development and Validation of a Battery Thermal Management Model for Electric Vehicles under Cold Driving.
“In winter, you turn on the heater; in Summer, you turn on the air conditioning—both consume a battery's energy and reduce EV driving range. With an optimal thermal management strategy, however, we can balance this,” Sok said.
He and his team built a 1D model of a mid-size EV battery to record their results.
“We installed 80 temperature, pressure, and coolant flow sensors to obtain data. Under aggressive driving conditions, a battery ages faster and can be overheated if thermal management is not appropriately controlled. Using a model-based approach, our objective is to find optimal thermal management controls to balance cabin comfort, as well as driving range,” Sok said.
With continued testing and application, Sok’s team plans to expand this research to include smaller BEV models to advance the development under fast-charging conditions.
He then described how teamwork led to the publication of, Development and Comparison of Virtual Sensors Constructed using AI Techniques to Estimate the Performances of IC Engines.
“We explored a new method of engine calibration in which a virtual sensor is developed and operates off of machine learning, or artificial intelligence. If this model is trained correctly, one could replace a physical sensor that is needed within an engine with a newer, virtual form,” Sok said.
These machine learning devices can be a vital component in reducing carbon emissions and for creating new sustainable technologies, according to Sok. The virtual sensors can get a more accurate and efficient measurement than physical ones and are less prone to damage. They also provide a better way to meet current industry regulations, Sok shared, citing Euro 7 limits around exhaust as an example of where the virtual technology shines.
Making these necessary changes isn’t something that happens overnight, and it’s not something one can do alone. Sok is grateful to SAE for helping to expand his network to investigate these ideas and share them with others.
“The conferences let me travel and meet new people who share the same research interests as me. There, we can share work, form joint proposals, and perhaps even work together,” he said. “For example, while I was just in Greenville, South Carolina, I met a senior professor who used to visit Japan. He collaborated with my now-supervisor back when I was just a child; he now has an assistant and associate professor who would like to work with us.”
While Sok is excited to have these new opportunities ahead of him, he recalled how it once was challenging for him to make these types of connections.
“When I was a student, I would say I had a little bit of Imposter Syndrome. I thought I wasn’t ‘big’ enough to talk to a senior professor, or a well-established researcher,” he said. “They are a lot friendlier than I thought. Now I have a lot more confidence when I talk to people, and so I try to encourage my students to go out there and to talk to people as much as they can.”
Now a professor, Sok understands what some of his students may experience when they have the opportunity to meet someone new, and does what he can to help students overcome their fears to create lasting industry connections like the ones he’s made through SAE. It may be scary at first, but new connections can have the potential to lead to something truly special.
Get a copy of Development and Validation of a Battery Thermal Management Model for Electric Vehicles under Cold Driving and Development and Comparison of Virtual Sensors Constructed using AI Techniques to Estimate the Performances of IC Engines today. “I hope to talk more with you about extended studies on these two topics at the SAE WCX 2024 in Detroit.” Sok added.
Be sure to view Sok’s extensive list of published research.
Click here to sign up for WCX 2024—held on April 16-18 in Detroit, Michigan.