Student Profile: Elliott Sanders

BS Renewable Materials, University of Idaho, 2015
MS Forest Resources, University of Maine, 2017
PhD Forest Resources, University of Maine, PRESENT
Position: Graduate Research Assistant
Research Interests: Material Science in relation to 3D Printing and Chemistry in relation to Composites
Advisor: Dr. Douglas Gardner
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Before Elliott graduated with a degree in Renewable Materials from the University of Idaho, he was struggling to find an institute that had research opportunities for him. During the summer following his senior year, he discovered an available internship with the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute at UMaine. As the Institute is partnered with the Advanced Structures and Composites Center (the Center), Elliott was able to work in the Center for nine weeks. The projects he completed during that time led to his decision to return to UMaine and the Center for grad school.

While the niche nature of his field was what initially brought UMaine to Elliott’s attention, he cites the advanced technology and levels of research at the Center as his main reasons for joining, describing it as an “undiscovered gem.” He particularly enjoys the inspiration he takes from his fellow researchers and the diverse nature of the projects being conducted. Elliott is also thankful for the opportunities his time at the Center has afforded him, as he has attended conferences and events in Canada, Detroit, Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, and Chile. He has also fostered a number of relationships with Forest Resources students and graduates both nationally and internationally.

Elliott’s work focuses on thermoplastic composites filled with cellulose nano fibers and analyzing their durability by using tensile, flexure, and impact test standards. For his Master’s degree, Elliott created a composite nano-fiber material which could be used in 3D Printing, and is in the process of getting his research published. This composite serves as a stronger material for the production of various items. He is also currently synthesizing a formula that will improve the durability of thermoplastic composites at the nano/micron level.

Elliott intends to eventually become a business owner so that he is able to provide job opportunities for others.

Activities and Honors

– Coauthored a published paper titled, “In-situ modification of cellulose nanofibrils by organosilanes during spray drying

– Received the Director’s Award from the Advanced Structures and Composites Center, 2017

– WMEB 91.9 FM Radio Host, 2017

– Awarded Farm Credit East Scholarship, 2016

– Awarded 2014 Outstanding Senior in Renewable Materials from the University of Idaho’s College of Natural Resources

– Currently a volunteer at the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute