This year marks the fourth consecutive year for the Maine Wind Blade Challenge and record growth in participating schools. 65 teams registered from 28 Maine schools will compete to design and construct composite wind blades at the University of Maine in April when teams will then test those blades to see how much energy each design can produce. With the growth over the 4 years the Wind Blade Challenge one of the most participated STEM events in the region.
Building students’ interest in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) has become a priority for the State of Maine. But building interest is just the beginning, once students are educated in these fields’ graduates need to know how the education translates to jobs. One of the unique aspects of this event is the direct partnership between industry and education that gives students that additional insight.
Maine Composites Alliance, Maine Wind Industry Initiative, and the Advanced Structures and Composites Center had both STEM education and industry in mind when they created the Maine Wind Blade Challenge. The event is a collaborative effort that incorporates STEM guidelines in the classroom and applied composites and energy education in the field. Students are match up to work directly with Maine businesses to use advanced construction techniques to build their blades.
On the day of the event Maine industry leaders in composites, engineering, alternative energy, construction, and boat building, gather to support and judge the contest. This year 300 Maine students are expected to gather to compete in the Wind Blade Challenge and the partnering Wind Storm Challenge floating wind platform competition.