UMaine Ph.D. candidate nears the end of his dissertation and looks towards a future with the ASCC

Murtada Alrubaie is a Ph.D. candidate working on his dissertation at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC). Originally from a city south of Baghdad in Iraq, he obtained two engineering degrees before coming to UMaine. Alrubaie received his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Basrah in 2005, and his master’s degree from the Universiti Putra Malaysia in 2010.

He began working on his dissertation, titled ‘Investigating the Time-Dependent and Mechanical Behavior of Wood Plastic Composite Lumber made from Thermally Modified Wood in the Use of Marine Aquacultural Structures’ in 2017. On March 28th, Alrubaie conducted the final test of his dissertation. The compression test involved testing small structural components against one another. He placed two triangular structures in the press; one made of Rudi Plastic composite and the other made of etched wood plastic composites (WPC) and compressed them until one buckled.

“The most challenging part is putting theory into application and coming up with a descriptive finding.” Alrubaie states.

The facilities provided by the Center and the assistance of knowledgeable staff ensured Alrubaie was able to obtain accurate data outputs. Forestry student Richard Fredericks, Wood Technologist and Quality Manager Benjamin Herzog, and Senior Lab Operations and Wood Composites Manager Russell Edgar are some of the many staff Alrubaie credited as having helped him with his research.

Now that his dissertation is coming on the two-year mark, Alrubaie gave the defense of his thesis on April 8th. The dissertation included a presentation on the work he has conducted and an open Q&A session. With a smile, Alrubaie says that it all went smoothly with no troubles.

“I want to have a postdoctoral position at the Center,” Alrubaie says.

Alrubaie is appreciative of the opportunities working at the Center has offered him as a student and wishes to continue his research with a postdoctoral position in the future. For now, he is enjoying the satisfaction of defending his thesis and making use of the rec center on campus. In his spare time, he enjoys playing soccer and table tennis. He finds joy in being able to take part in the many opportunities the Center has to offer him.

“The variety of mechanical testing, measurements methods, and manufacturing of materials, from small-scale to large-scale size specimens that can be conducted at the ASCC on conventional materials or composite materials is the thing I believe that I can get it here and nowhere else.”