Ongoing research collaboration brings forest bioproducts to Bangor middle schoolers

Ashley Forbes,

June 25, 2021 

This year, when eighth graders Ian Blackwell and Nik Horton were looking for a project for the Maine State Middle School Science & Engineering Fair, they spotted a spiffy varnished wood box tricked out with bracing and hardware in their science classroom at the James F. Doughty School in Bangor, and asked their teacher what it was for.

The box was a custom-made mold designed by University of Maine professor of chemical and biomedical engineering David Neivandt to shape planks of nontoxic particle board made from sawdust and bound with cellulose nanofibers. It is part of a physical science inquiry module that the students’ teacher, Tracy Vassiliev, had developed with Neivandt and others at UMaine through a K–12 research collaboration with the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute.