Peter Watterson


News Flash, 22 October 2010:

CSIRO have offered a topic in motor design research for a PhD scholarship, namely:

“Optimum motor for constant power over a broad speed range for an electric vehicle”

- see .


The research will be quite theoretical, reviewing and extending the topic of field-weakening motors such as “Interior Permanent Magnet” motors. Finite element analysis (almost certainly ANSYS) will be used, but also one or more prototypes will be designed, built and tested.


Details are linked from . Closing date is 30 November 2010.


Prospective applicants may wish to consider UTS to host the PhD and should call myself, Peter Watterson, or Prof Jianguo Zhu. More top-up scholarships than full scholarships are likely to be available and so students should ideally also apply for an Australian Postgraduate Award APA (though even if you get the APA, you may or may not get the CSIRO scholarship). As detailed in

APA applications close for UTS on 31 October 2010, so move fast! APA scholarships are open to Australian citizens, New Zealand citizens or permanent residents of Australia.


Office:     CB01.18.23

Phone:    +61 2 95142319

Fax:        +61 2 95142435


Mail:        University of Technology, Sydney,

                PO Box 123,

                Broadway NSW 2007,



Personal Photo:
Current Positions:

Associate Professor, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, University of Technology, Sydney


Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering (first half of week, alternate Wednesdays) Ph (02)94137529.


Peter Watterson completed an Honours BSc, with applied mathematics emphasis, at Monash University in 1980, and a PhD in magnetohydrodynamics at Cambridge University in 1985. He spent the next five years as a research fellow at the Lucas Heights Research Laboratories (ANSTO) modelling the “Rotamak” plasma containment device. He then switched fields from fusion plasma physics to electrical engineering in 1990, joining the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) where he is now an Associate Professor. He has lectured or tutored on Field Theory, Electromechanical Systems, Mathematical Modelling, Informatics C, Engineering Statistics, Uncertainties and Risks, Circuit Analysis and Electronics (lab).

Research Interests:

Peter’s primary research interest is electric motor and generator design. For a new motor application, he first seeks the most appropriate motor type, often arriving at a novel topology of the basic engineering materials - magnets, iron and copper. Then he uses computer software to optimise the design, with the performance of each possible design assessed by a finite element solution of Maxwell’s equations for the electromagnetic fields in the motor or generator.

Peter has completed many machine design research and consulting jobs. Up to 1998, these were mostly in collaboration with the CSIRO. The formation of the Centre for Intelligent Mechatronic Systems within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at UTS has brought all the necessary expertise together for the design, construction and testing of electric machine prototypes. Some projects are completed within a subset of this Group called the “Centre for Electrical Machines and Power Electronics”, CEMPE.

Peter welcomes any enquiries on electric machine design or mathematical problems.

Current Projects:

Peter has been a key member in the following sucessfully completed research projects:

  • The Ventrassist implanted rotary blood pump for chronic heart failure - an “artificial heart” to assist the left ventricle - in collaboration with Ventracor (with funding from an Australian Research Council Collaborative Grant, a $3 million AusIndustry R&D Start grant, and then the stockmarket). Several US patents granted including 6,227,797, 6,250,880, 6,866,625 plus continuations. After extensive animal trials the first implantation in a critically ill man occurred on 28 June 2003 at the Alfred Hospital. There have been 291 recipients as at 30 June 2008. From 2005-2008, Peter led the UTS team collaborating with Ventracor on the development of a Transcutaneous Energy Transfer System, funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Project grant.

Early Ventrassist prototype (1998) made at UTS.

·        The Sunshine Heart “artificial heart” device. Peter co-ordinated a CEMPE team in the design, construction and commissioning of the motor mechanism and controller for the device, which pumps blood by squeezing the aorta out of time with the natural heart (“extra-aortic counterpulsation”).

·        Electric motors for a hybrid (solar, wind and LPG powered) catamaran ferry, Solar Sailor. A light, efficient, corrosion resistant 40 kW motor and matching controller were designed and a pair of each was built, one for each hull, the prototypes going into service just in time for the Sydney Olympics 2000.

·        Wind turbine generator design for the Australian CRC for Renewable Energy (now closed). Three units of a 20 kW generator designed by colleagues at UTS and CSIRO are installed in the Westwind turbines in operation at Exmouth, Western Australia. Peter has developed new transverse flux designs for generators of power up to 3 MW (with and without superconductors). A prototype generator of rating 20 kW has been constructed and is under test. This new machine is half the size of the earlier conventional (radial flux) machine. Enquiries are welcome from manufacturers of turbines of all ratings, but the topology can also be applied to any high torque, low speed machine.

Research Students:
          Two Capstone Students, one on the Transverse Flux Generator and one on Magnetic Bearings

Appliances exploiting motors for which Peter was the principal designer have received many awards, including:

·        2001  Solar Sailor electric ferry awarded joint overall winner of the 2000-2001 Australian Design Award, citing UTS high efficiency electric motors for marine applications as one of their three key design features.

·        2001  Business /Higher Education Round Table (BHERT) Award for Outstanding Achievement in Collaborative R&D for Small-Medium sized Companies and Project/Program 18 mths-5 years in train, won in collaboration with MicroMedical (now Ventracor) for Ventrassist Implantable Rotary Blood Pump.

·        2004  Ventrassist blood pump - Engineers Australia Award for Excellence in Engineering Design, included as part of the 2004 Australian Design Awards.

·        2004  Ventrassist blood pump - DuPont Australia and New Zealand Innovation Awards Open Category, see

Selected Patents:
  • US Patent No. 6,194,852 B1 "High Speed Electric Motors", H.C. Lovatt, P.A.Watterson, granted 27 Feb 2001, 6 pages.
  • US Patent No. 6,227,797 B1 “Rotary Pump with Hydrodynamically Suspended Impeller”, Watterson P.A., Tansley G.D., Woodard J.C., granted 8 May 2001, 28 pages.
  • US Patent No. 6,866,625 B1 “Rotary Blood Pump and Control System Therefor”, granted P.J.Ayre, G.D. Tansley, P.A.Watterson, & J.C.Woodard, 15 March 2005, 58 pages.
  • Australian Patent 735783 "Improvements in High Speed Rotor Shafts", R.D. Conry, R. Dietzel, H.Y.Lin, H.C. Lovatt & P.A.Watterson coinventors, sealed 25/10/01.

  • US Patent No. 7,306,558 "Fluid Pressure Generating Means", Will Peters, Hans Heinrichsen, Peter Watterson, 21 pages, granted 11/12/07.

  • US Patent No. 7,347,811 "Heart Assistance Device Utilising Aortic Deformation", William S. Peters, Scott H. Miller, Peter A. Watterson, 39 pages, granted 25 March 2008.

Selected Publications:
  • 'Magnetic field penetration into thin disks', P.A.Watterson, Archiv fur Elektrotechnik 73 (1990) 353-363.
  • 'Analytic solutions for the current driven by a rotating magnetic field in a spherical plasma', P.A.Watterson, J. Plasma Phys. 46(2) (1991) 271-298.
  • 'Optimization of permanent magnet motors using field calculations of increasing precision', P.A. Watterson, Jianguo Zhu and Victor S. Ramsden, IEEE Trans. Magnetics 28(2) (1992) 1589-1592.
  • ‘Analysis of six-step 120° conduction permanent magnet motor drives’, P.A. Watterson, Australasian Universities Power Engineering Conference (AUPEC ’97), Sydney, Australia, 29/9/97- 1/10/97, ISBN: 0 7334 1592 X, Ed. T.Blackburn, The University of New South Wales, pp. 13-18.

·        ‘Energy Calculation of a Permanent Magnet System by Surface and Flux Integrals (the “Flux-MMF method”)’. P.A. Watterson, IEEE Trans. Magnetics, vol. 36, no. 2, March 2000, 470-475.

  • ‘The VentrAssist Hydrodynamically Suspended, Open, Centrifugal Blood Pump’, P.A.Watterson, J.C.Woodard, V.S.Ramsden, J.A.Reizes, Artificial Organs 24(6) June 2000, 475-477.
  • ‘UTS Brushless DC Motors and Controllers for the Solar Sailor Ferry’, P.A.Watterson, W.M.Holliday, C.E.Evans, V.S.Ramsden, V. Ramaswamy, G.P.Hunter, invited paper, Proc. Of Pacific 2002 International Maritime Conference, Sydney, 29-31 Jan 2002, pp 549-552, Inst. Of Engineers, Australia, Barton.
  • High Torque Brushless DC Motor for a Valve Actuator’, P. A. Watterson, G.P. Hunter H. C. Lovatt, S. J. Collocott, J.B. Dunlop,  P. B. Gwan,  B. Kalan, invited paper at Eighth International Conference on Electrical Machines and Systems, September 27-29, 2005, Nanjing, China.
  • ‘Development of a PM Transverse Flux Motor with Soft Magnetic Composite Core’, Y.G. Guo, J.G. Zhu, P.A.Watterson, and W.Wu, IEEE Trans. on Energy Conversion, Vol. 21, No.2, June 2006, pp. 426-434.