Frequently Asked Questions

question markQ: I’ve heard the PDC is involved with nanocellulose. Do you manufacture it on-site? Can I buy samples from you?

A: Yes. In 2012, the PDC completed our Nanomaterial Pilot Plant, which is located in our laboratory at Jenness Hall. The plant, which is capable of producing one ton of cellulose nanofibrils per day, is the only one of its kind in the country. We offer several different forms of cellulose nanomaterials for purchase. For more details on ordering samples, visit our Order Nanocellulose page and to learn more about this fascinating material, see our Nanocellulose Basics page.

Q: Your website says that anyone can come to the PDC and have full access to the staff and research facilities on a fee-for-service basis. How can we begin?

A: Typically, prospective clients begin their project by getting in touch with our Managing Director, Pros Bennett, to discuss their needs. If they choose, clients can arrange a visit to tour our facility and discuss their project with our staff. If Intellectual Property is an issue, we can work with UMaine’s Department of Industrial Cooperation to execute formal agreements for collaboration and non-disclosure, as well as agreements for material transfer.

Q: I know that the Process Development Center works on large and small projects, but all my company needs is to send in some samples for testing. Do you do small tasks like that?

A: Yes. The PDC can perform a wide variety of testing on any type of material in any form, solid, liquid, and gas. We conduct standard tests on pulp samples for brightness, species, fiber morphology and distribution. Other standard tests evaluate paper properties such as strength, structure, and printability. The PDC also has highly specialized test equipment that can determine precise chemical constituents and molecular structure. When you work with the PDC your company has access to all of the equipment and advanced technologies available on the entire UMaine campus. This includes laser scattering for particle size, highly advanced gas chromatography, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Also available for use by PDC researchers is a scanning electron microscope (SEM), a rare, state-of-the-art device that allows researchers to view objects into the nanometer range and to take detailed images of clay particles, paper fibers, paint chips and similar substances.

Q: How long has the PDC been around?

A: See the History of the PDC for the story of how the Process Development Center evolved from some outdated machinery in a UMaine basement to a cutting-edge center for scientific research.

Q: What are some of the companies/entities/clients that the PDC has worked with?

A: The PDC has worked with hundreds of companies and individuals for more than thirty years. Many of those projects are confidential. You can check out our Collaborators to see some of the companies and non-profit organizations (big and small) that the PDC has partnered with over the years.

Q: Where can I get the most up-to-date information on what’s going on at the PDC?

A: First, follow us on Twitter and Facebook! Here on the website, check out our In the News page or our Blog. If you have a specific question, feel free to contact us.