ARLINGTON, Va. — The University of Maine’s Advanced Engineered Wood Composite Center has won the Most Creative Award for Composites Excellence (ACE) during the American Composites Manufacturers Association’s annual conference and trade show.
The award recognizes the application of composite materials that is most imaginative and innovative, as determined by a panel of composites industry judges.
The building panels developed at UMaine are intended for use by the Army for modular building structures that are blast and disaster resistant. The technology involves a coating applied to wood that allows it to absorb five to seven times more energy in blast or in a hurricane. Not only can the panels be made from recycled materials, but additional composites can be made by recycling the building panels once they no longer are needed.
In addition to the ACE award, graduate student Daniel Alvarez was acknowledged by the ACMA for having the best technical paper in the green composites track. The paper is co-authored by AEWC director Habib Dagher, civil engineering associate professors Roberto Lopez-Anido and William G. Davids, and wood science and technology professor Douglas Gardner. It features a UMaine-patented technology for building sea walls and other waterfront retaining structures. The sea walls are made with recycled plastics and sawdust and can be 100 percent recycled even after 100 years in operation.
ACMA represents 850 of approximately 3,000 composites manufacturers and suppliers to the industry. Last year the association awarded UMaine’s AEWC with the Best of the Best Award, recognizing the center’s Modular Ballistic Protection Panels as the top composites product for 2007. The tent panels were popular among those attending the conference, who crowned the project with the People’s Choice Award.