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Lansdale, Pennsylvania—May 30, 2017The Engineering Design and Development students of the Engineering Academy at North Penn High School hosted a nanotechnology and engineering research presentation on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 at North Penn High School in Lansdale PA.

Engineering Design and Development, or EDD, is the capstone course of a national Pre-engineering program called Project Lead the Way.  In this course, students work together to
research, design, and construct solutions to engineering problems

North Penn’s EDD course has a unique nanotechnology research program, developed by its instructor, known as The Future is N.E.A.R. (Nanotechnology Education And Research).  The EDD course and NEAR program offer its students the opportunity to gain essential 21st century skills that will prepare them to become successful leaders in a technological global society.  


The program introduces the fundamentals of nanotechnology, engineering research principles, and a rigorous application of their skills and knowledge to high school students while cultivating their interest in engineering, problem solving and life-long learning.  Students seek opportunities to design and test solutions to global issues by capitalizing from the fundamentals of nanotechnology and engineering utilizing the latest published research available.

This year, 26 students in nine research teams and 6 students from the North Penn NASA Research Team presented their research.  Please see the video recorded by North Penn Television and images from their final presentation below:


2017 Invitation 2017 Program
Image 2: The Future is NEAR (Nanotechnology Education and Research) students after their presentation.

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Image 1: The Future is NEAR (Nanotechnology Education and Research) students after their presentation.

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Darren Deeck   |   Beau Meingossner   |   Alexander Vuong

A.R.D. Industries:
Photovoltaic, Thermoelectric and Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting Roof Systems

There is a global need for a new efficient energy source because many of the current methodologies of generating electricity are inefficient and harmful to the environment. It is believed that by utilizing different aspects of the surroundings, energy can be collected from our environment.  With the application of piezoelectric materials to a variety of surfaces, energy could be harvested, stored and utilized in a multitude of ways.  The intended goal of this endeavor is to design, develop and test an energy harvesting device that will capture environmental pressures and movements and convert forces into clean affordable electricity.

Harris Levine   |   Julia Santos   |   Bryan Moed

E.V.R.T.: Educational Virtual Reality Technologies
Virtual Reality Systems in Education

Technology in this day and age is a double-edged sword: providing universal access to information while acting simultaneously as a constant distraction to students and educators alike. In order to empower every student to use preexisting knowledge to create new understandings and achieve at his/her highest potential, we seek to integrate technology with education in a fashion which was impossible in the past. By employing virtual and augmented reality technologies, traditional mandates of curricula can be bypassed which would allow for the use of individualized, hands-on simulations to teach a broad range of skills from simple to complex and abstract concepts. Experiential virtual learning can be completely customizable to each student's individual needs and preferences. We now possess the ability to step beyond the various constraints of a typical classroom environment  and can offer immersion into any scenario imaginable regardless of economic, feasibility, or safety limitations. The doors that are opened with the implementation of virtual reality as a teaching tool and methodology are infinite.

Nick Crisler   |   James Drinkwater   |   Jake Yoder

Polymer Nanofiber-Based Battery Separators

Within a battery, the positive and negative terminals are respectively distinguished by which side possesses the Anode and the Cathode. In between these sides, there is a dividing barrier, known as a separator, commonly made out of polymers, glass, or many other materials. The purpose of this separator is to facilitate and aid the process of moving the electrons from the anode to the cathode to make the battery work and to also prevent the battery from entering a “shutdown” state due to an overload of power. The current problem with the separator is that it both limits the lifespan of a battery and how well they perform.

Portable electronic device batteries last about five to seven hours of continuous use on average. The battery performs poorly when it is heavily used, causing a lower maximum charge capacity and premature fatigue. Empirical evidence shows how the battery function is limited when a separator is compromised or performing poorly. Through our research, we plan to make new separators that both provide the function of ionic transfer from anode to cathode and allows for greater efficiency within the process so that the the battery can perform more efficiently.

Brian Pilat   |   Matthew Shaw   |   Tyler Uhler

Magnesium Air Fuel Cells

Electricity is an amenity that is often taken for granted and many people do not realize that 1.2 billion people do not have access to electricity. But there is also a need for efficient clean energy to help us decrease pollution caused by fossil fuels. Electricity is a scarce resource in isolated places and developing nations, but there are plenty of other cost effective, efficient and clean means of making electricity available. With preliminary testing of a store bought Magnesium Air Fuel Cell (MAFC) it showed performance similar to a standard AA battery while being a 100% clean energy source utilizing salt water to power it.

Zandon Grant   |   Justin Hrusovsky   |   Evin Karatas   |   Sam Rouni

Moneta Polymer Systems
Shape Memory Polymers

Man-made synthetic Polymers are used in almost every aspect of our daily lives, from clothing to the biomedical field. Yet, despite their widespread usage, many polymers quickly breakdown or suffer from deformation that can not be reversed. Many of the polymers mass-produced can not be shaped into several forms, shapes, and sizes. For example, in the medical field, devices such as stents to keep vital arteries open lack the ability to quickly recover from deformation and remain in one shape. This is a clear example of deformed materials not recovering is one that affects the health of people.

 Engy Khoshit   |   Scott Schrum   |   Noah Wendt

Advanced ireless Energy Transfer Via High Frequency Coupling

Traditional methods of charging and powering electronic devices are expensive, ineffective and disorderly. This problem has continued to evolve as the development of portable electronic devices has become more prevalent in modern society.  Implementing a wireless energy transfer process would provide a cost-effective, hassle-free, and viable solution by drastically reducing the amount of electrical components and resources spent either purchasing or replacing the charging devices. The implications would result in less reliance on the proximity of an outlet to recharge or power a device, allowing for more mobility.

Anthony Brigidi   |   Jason Ellstrom   |   TJ Schmidt

N.E.T. NanoEnergy Technologies
Photovoltaic, Thermoelectric and Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting Roof Systems

On average, a single household pays approximately 1,350 USD a year for electricity. The most common method of generating electricity is from fossil fuels and nuclear power plants. However, these methods produce a large amount of pollution and in most cases are non-renewable. We plan to use nanotechnology to harvest energy from the environment. We will use piezoelectric materials to harvest the motion and force of the environment, thermoelectric materials to collect the energy produced through heat differences and  photovoltaic cells to collect the energy emitted from the sun. With the advent of today’s nanotechnology, there are ways to yield electricity from natural, non-polluting sources that would otherwise be overlooked.

Jason Sands   |   Jonathan Storms

Sandstorm Technologies
Concussion Prevention

Every day, approximately 153 people die from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) related injuries in the United States alone. If a new material can be created using Non-Newtonian Fluids that can replace current padding used in helmets, it should be able to drastically reduce the force transmitted to your head from a collision, thereby reducing the chance for concussions or any other TBI related injuries while still maintaining the integrity of the sport or activity.

Jonathon Deddy   |   Nicholas Hendrzak

Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting

Electronics play a key role in today’s society, making everyday tasks more efficient. The current technologies, however, allow heat to escape from the device; heat that could have been used as energy. To combat this, a nanofiber-based material that harnesses that lost heat energy would be necessary. This could lead to increased life, as well as a reduction of the need to continually charge the battery.

Bryce Furek   |   Jake Holmberg   |   Satyam Patel   |   Camryn Russell   |   Daniel Trumpp   |   Tyler Uhler

North Penn NASA Research Team
Hydrophobic Polymer Nanofiber Protection

Students in the North Penn NASA Research Team are currently studenying the development and testing of hydrophobic polymer nanofibers and a portable elctrospinning apparatus for electrical connection protection in space and autonomous vehicles.