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University of Maine earns $3.9M to develop ocean engineering and advanced manufacturing laboratories

News International-French

24 Nov 2015

During a laboratory dedication this morning at the University of Maine, the Harold Alfond Foundation announced a $3.9 million grant to the University of Maine to match $9.98 million already raised, formally establishing the Harold Alfond W2 Ocean Engineering Laboratory and Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center on campus.

The Ocean Engineering Laboratory will prototype coastal and offshore structures, including ships, aquaculture facilities, oil and gas structures, and ocean energy devices under extreme wave, wind and current environments.

The Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory for thermoplastic composites will utilize digital, additive and robotics manufacturing to reduce cycle time and cost. Structural thermoplastics are recyclable materials that could transform composite materials use in cars, ships, boats and aerospace applications. In June, the Composites Center received $497,965 from the National Institutes of Standards and Technology to develop a national road map for advanced manufacturing of structural thermoplastics composites materials.

The total construction, equipping and start-up of the new laboratories over the first three years will cost more than $13.8 million. Of that, the center had raised more than $9.98 million through four grant competitions, including the U.S. Economic Development Administration, National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Maine Technology Institute, as well as a Maine voter-approved bond, supported by the Governor and Maine Legislature in June 2015.

The Alfond Foundation naming gift of $3.9 million will help complete the equipping of the facility, hire world-class engineers for the start-up in 2015–16, and fund graduate and undergraduate students over three years to help start-up the facility.

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