The innovation engine for new materials

Christine Flores


Monte Vista Middle School

Grade Level: 

Junior High

Teaching Position: 

7 & 8th grade General Science and Agriculture


Colleen Reynolds


Tresa Pollock

Research Project Year: 


Research Project Title: 

Multi-Principal Element Alloys: Exploration, Design, and Understanding

Research Project Description: 

Metallic materials have proven immensely useful, with specific applications in different naval systems, like ships, submarines, sea-based aircraft, and hypersonic vehicles. When considering which materials to use in such challenging environments, metallic alloys are obvious choices because of outstanding properties in strength and resilience. More recently, multi-principal element (MPE) alloys have emerged as a promising new class of advanced metallic materials. Funded by the Office of Naval Research, this research project aims to revolutionize our ability to design, explore and understand the processing, properties and environmental behavior of refractory MPE alloys. By focusing on refractory metals, the exceptional properties of MPE alloys are enhanced by the known heat-resistant and strong features of refractory metals. Advancements in this research area are especially promising given gaps in current knowledge about refractory MPE alloys paves way for this research to break ground. My specific project focused on the preparation and characterization of pure niobium using a variety of lab equipment. I also helped create an alloy of Titanium, Molydbenum and Niobium using Arc Melting techniques and characterized the product using Scanning Electron Microscopy.

Curriculum Project Year: 


Curriculum Project Title: 

The Story of the Bad Apple

Curriculum Project Description: 

Following a 6E model, this phenomena-based unit is designed in accordance with the NGSS standards. Although created for the middle school level, it can be adapted to fit the high school standards as well. With respect to the local agricultural community, this curriculum project aims to give students a scientific perspective of the journey produce takes to go from “farm to table”. This unit specifically covers the timeline of an apple - from harvest to processing to distribution - with a focus on the deterioration of apples. First, students consider the quality attributes of a “good” apple versus a “bad” apple and how bad apples are often thrown away. Students are then invited to explore the mechanisms behind why apples go bad by comparing and contrasting the mass, color, and structural integrity of apple slices over the span of three days. Students take a closer look at the chemistry behind why apples turn brown and mushy by investigating a specific instance of oxidation known as enzymatic browning and its effects on fruits. Next, students explore the effect that temperature has on the oxidative browning of apples. To explain their lab results, students study how temperature is one of many factors that affect the rate of chemical reactions. Afterward, students consider different home remedies that aim to prevent or impede the oxidation of apple slices. From here students launch into an engineering design project to design their own method for preventing apple browning that is cheap and accessible for an individual their age. Students are then introduced to the multitude of current innovations in food science, such as the Arctic Apple and Apeel. As a final assessment, students are asked to revisit their engineering creation, and present an explanation of how their design works and why it works from a science-based perspective. FOR CURRICULUM RESOURCES PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE.

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