The innovation engine for new materials

Zachary Moore


Laguna Blanca

Grade Level: 

High School

Teaching Position: 



Todd Squires


Chemical Engineering


Arash Nowbahar

Research Project Year: 


Research Project Title: 

Interfacial Polymerization for Water Treatment Membranes

Research Project Description: 

Demand for clean water is ever-increasing.  Reverse Osmosis membranes are used to remove ions and are produced by interfacial polymerization.  Although they are used, the dynamics of creation is still a mystery.  Our research objectives are to measure reaction kinetics to connect input chemistry with membrane properties and performance, with the ultimate goal of creating longer lasting and more efficient membranes.  Interferometry, light transmitted through semi-reflective surfaces while tracking wavelength peaks, will be used to measure concentration gradients during membrane formation.  Microfluidic devices were utilized to track these changes.  The devices require mirrored surfaces about 100 microns apart, a stable planer interface, no fluid flow during the reaction, and materials that are compatible with oil/water and reactants.  We initially focused on delving into data collection with a standard microfluidics device using interferometry, but device failure refocused out efforts towards reengineering devices.  The standard device turned out to have a water soluble membrane the swelled to increase channel depth, which nullified the concentration readings. This gave us valuable insight into the iterative process and pushed us to rethink how devices can be made.  

Curriculum Project Year: 


Curriculum Project Title: 

Engineering Amusement

Curriculum Project Description: 

What does it mean to transform?  How does humanity evolve and change over time?  Through a multidisciplinary approach, this curriculum block delves into the theme of transformations.  This three part curriculum block aligns itself with a typical 8th grade Physical Science course, taking place during the study of  Newtonian mechanics.  The theme-related PBL work will require at least 1 semester of coursework to support the subject matter.  The three parts include: Roller Coaster Design, Realm of Rights Roller Part, and an outdoor classroom experience at Six Flags Magic Mountain.  These units focuses on the design thinking process as applied to engineering challenges and experimental design as applied to inquiry-based activities.

Google drive link to Engineering Amusement curriculum project materials (simply request permission after clicking this link and you will have access as soon as Zack receives the email).

Note - Mission to Mars is a set of activities developed by Zachary Moore and presented at the March 2016 science teacher workshop which are presently available on this google drive link.

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