Looking forward to Friday :)
2001-2006 Alsop High School, 2006-2008 Alsop High School Sixth Form, 2008-2012 University of Liverpool
Chemistry Masters Degree, 3 A-Levels (Chemistry, Biology, Maths), 11 GCSE’s A-C, 1GNVQ IT
Subway (Sandwich Artist!!), Waitress
Research and Development Chemist
Favourite thing to do in my job: Finding solutions to problems and seeing how they make a difference. Transferring lab experiments into something that is useful in the real world.
Improving or creating processes for the chemical factory by research and development
I work for an inorganic chemical manufacturer whose speciality is cobalt salts. Cobalt is a 1st row transition metal and transition metals are known to be colourful compounds! The picture below shows you some of the different coloured cobalt compounds formed.
We start off with a low grade cobalt compound which we dissolve in nitric acid to form cobalt nitrate solution. We then purify (clean) the solution using a range of techniques such as precipitation (removing the unwanted ion from solution by making it a solid compound) and solvent extraction (separation of ions using an organic extractant).
My job is to improve the different stages of production or to create a new process. I normally do some laboratory experiments to see how the reaction occurs and look at different variables such as temperature and pH. From the laboratory experiments we normally scale up to production size experiments (experiments using over 10000 litres of solution – this is equivalent to 20000 small bottles of coke!)
My Typical Day
Running laboratory experiments or big scale trials in the factory, having meetings and anaysing data. Oh and having fun in between all the work
The picture below shows you what our lab looks like (ignore the mess on the benches – that just shows we work hard!)
This is a fume cupboard where I will complete my experiments. We have to complete experiments in fume cupboards if any nasty gases are formed as the fume cupboard will take the gases away.
The picture below shows some of the instruments we use to test our products. The instrument on the left is how we measure cobalt concentration (we need a microwave to heat up the solution!). The instrument on the right determines the particle size of the powders we make.
Finally this is where I complete all my paper work and produce graphs from the results I collect in the laboratory.
What I'd do with the prize money
Help a childrens charity to fund a science related workshop
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Happy, laid back
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Burning magnesium ribbon (see picture below)
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My GCSE/A level chemistry teacher
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Yes – I always made sure I listened in class though!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To be happy, healthy and rich!
Tell us a joke.
What is a scientists favourite plant?……..Chemist-tree!