Additional Participants

Senior Personnel

Heather Almquist

James Ward

William Davids

Robert Lindyberg

Martin Grimnes

Russell Edgar

Jon Fiutak

Graduate Student

Carmen Cherry

Shane MacDougald

Stig Callahan

Kenneth Fortier

Undergraduate Student

Julie Faloon

Jonathan Kenerson

Matt Giffen

Richard Nye

Adam McNaughton

Anthony Viselli

Jonathan Kennerson

Zachary Ferry

Michael Tippett

Gustav Watson

Nicholas Achorn

Olakpe Udhedhe

Keith Trask

Christopher Wener

Jesse Nash

Tony Foster

Technician, Programmer

Joel Gibbs

Vernon Darling

Shane O'Neill

Christopher Boynton

Chris Watt

Olivia Sanchez

Justin Crouse

Other Participant

Alan Gould

Stephen Adam

Organizational Partners

Maine Technology Institute

Composites Technology Centers

Hodgdon Yachts

Harbor Technologies

Maine Secure Composites

Hancock Lumber

Project Period

January 2002-December 2005

Level of Access

Open-Access Report

Grant Number


Submission Date



This award is to the University of Maine to support the activity described below for 36 months. The proposal was submitted in response to the Partnerships for Innovation Program Solicitation (NSF 0179).

The partners for the award include the University of Maine (Lead Institution), Maine Technology Institute, Eastern Maine Development Corporation, State Department of Economic and Community Development, The Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Maine Department of Transportation, Louisiana Pacific, Dow Chemical, State Farm Insurance, Henderson and Bodwell, The Kenway Corporation, Market Development Alliance of the FRP Composites Industry, APA the Engineered Wood Association, National Institutes of Standards and Technology, USDA Forest Products Laboratory.

Proposed Activities
The award will support the following activities: (1) strengthen partnerships among the University of Maine, private industry, state organizations, forest product industry organizations, and national laboratories to foster commercialization of composite reinforced wood, (2) develop innovative strategies for commercializing composite reinforced wood hybrids that can become models for other university research centers, establish commercialization projects (reinforced wood composite beams using low-grade hardwoods, disaster-resistant housing using reinforced sheathing panels, novel long-strand composite lumber beams and columns).

Proposed Innovation
Housing industry in the US accounts for 28% of the total construction industry, and most of the wood used is high-grade conventional wood lumber. The supply of high-grade lumber is declining in the US. Reinforced composite wood will allow the use of low-grade lumber from other species of trees in more abundant supply, and provide skilled jobs in Maine. These products will lower the cost of wood products for housing in the US. Increasing the resistance of housing to disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes will make a major impact on the economy of the nation.

Potential Economic Impact
Ninety percent of Maine is forested, and 25% of the state's economy is based on forest resources. The forest economy has traditionally been based on export of raw lumber with unskilled labor and few value added timber products. Other manufacturing jobs have moved from the state recently, leaving unskilled jobs and service industries (e.g., tourism) as the major source of income. Successful commercialization of composite reinforced wood will play a large role in developing a growing state economy. Lower costs for wood products for housing construction will have a major economic impact in the US. Increasing the resistance of housing to disasters will lower the cost of repair, maintenance, and insurance for disasters.

Potential Societal Impact
Maine ranks 29th in the nation in terms of advanced degree scientists/engineers and 50th in science/engineering graduate students. The job market for young scientists and engineers is bleak in Maine. The educational program will include entrepreneurial education as well as science and engineering to provide a skilled workforce for the economy surrounding the new wood-based technology/economy. The housing industry amounts to $800 billion/year in the US alone.