Engineering Professor Gives Maine Boom Thumbs Up

"I have never directly looked at boom before," says Ian T. Durham of the Department of Physics and Cooperative Engineering at Saint Anselm College. That said, Durham says, analyzing boom "is a fairly standard, pretty simple mechanical engineering problem." Durham was recently hired by Packgen -- the Maine packaging company that manufactured roughly 80,000 feet of boom that the US Coast Guard says failed an initial BP quality control test . Packgen president John Lapoint III has expressed frustration at BP/Coast Guard bureaucracy, insisting that the boom he's making will work well in the Gulf, where boom is desperately needed. Durham would not say how much he was paid, but he says he's generally paid $100 an hour for consulting, and his analysis of Packgen boom took rougly 40-45 hours. You can read Durham's report HERE. He says Packgen's boom is superior to other boom. Its woven polypropelene is "practically indestructible," he says. "Packgen uses it to make toxic waste disposal containers." Using woven polypropelene means the Packgen boom isn't "going to twist like the vinyl" boom. "And it's easier to deploy. It's nice and stiff and it floats really nicely." Durham says he was hired to make sure that the Packgen boom met all of the ASTM standards, which he says it did. He "absolutely" believes the government should buy and deploy it. "I don’t work for Packgen, I have no loyalty to them," he says. "I think it certainly will work" in coastal areas, though he "wouldn't deploy it deepwater." -Jake Tapper

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