The innovation engine for new materials

Julia Pustizzi

Julia Pustizzi


Fesler Junior High, Santa Maria

Grade Level: 

Junior High

Teaching Position: 

8th grade science


Steve Buratto




Jonathan Burk

Research Project Year: 


Research Project Title: 

Reducing Platinum Content in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

Research Project Description: 

Proton exchange membrane fuel cells rely upon the expensive metal Platinum as a catalyst for the anodic and cathodic electrochemical reactions.  Widespread adoption and use of fuel cells is limited by the expense of the fuel cell, largely controlled by the platinum content.  Current techniques of electrochemical platinum deposition rely upon depositing platinum directly onto the carbon layer. Our project aims to deposit platinum through the PEM, thereby depositing platinum on only effective sites directly adjacent to hydrophilic channels.  This study focuses on characterizing the platinic acid solution, specifically platinic acid’s charge transfer coefficient and diffusion coefficient.  It was found that platinic acid has a charge transfer coefficient of  0.197286 and a diffusion coefficient of 5.217x10-9 cm2/s. 

Research Project Attachments: 

Curriculum Project Year: 


Curriculum Project Title: 

Learning Logic: Units for Introducing and Developing Reasoning and Communication

Curriculum Project Description: 

This portfolio comprises three curriculum pieces designed to develop middle school students’ use of reasoning and logic in the science classroom.   This portfolio is designed to supplement the classic middle school curriculum, introducing students to logic, teaching students to articulate logic, and then asking them to use logic repeatedly through the school year. 

In the introductory lesson, students use logic puzzles to make claims, and then learn to substantiate their claims using the Claim-Evidence-Reasoning format.  As a supplement to this unit, provided are a series of curriculum inserts for use in the 8th grade physical science classroom.  These inserts are one-page documents that ask students to make and substantiate a claim using the format used above.  The last unit of the series asks students to use their reasoning skills to identify a crystal of unknown substance and then develop a method to regrow that crystal. 

Curriculum Project Attachments: 

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