The University of Maine’s state-of-the-art Advanced Structures and Composites Center (AEWC) was awarded the Charles Pankow Award for Innovation by the American Society for Civil Engineering for its whimsically titled “Bridge-in-a-Backpack” technology. The technology allows builders to pack in duffel bags materials used to build arches for bridge spans and carry them to a construction site. They can then build a bridge in a matter of days instead of weeks.
The AEWC, which has earned numerous awards since opening in 2000, engages about 100 undergraduate and graduate students each year from various academic disciplines in cutting-edge research projects related to public infrastructure, construction and homeland security, as well as an offshore wind laboratory.
For example, students enrolled in the University of Maine’s Wood Science and Technology bachelor’s degree program have the opportunity to participate in AEWC research, such as the use of wood composites in blast- and earthquake-resistant buildings.
The bachelor’s program is the only one of its kind offered by New England public higher education institutions, and students who are residents of the five other New England states are eligible to pay lower tuition under NEBHE’s Regional Student Program (RSP) Tuition Break.