27 May 2022. Brought to you by Bethany Stansby.

Emily Holding

What is your current position? 

I am a EngD student in Materials, Manufacturing and Modelling at Swansea University studying, and characterising, sustainable materials for can making.

Which A-Levels (or equivalent) did you do? 

A-levels in Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics. 

Why did you choose a career in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE)? 

I chose a career in MSE as I found maths and science very engaging at school. I like the challenge that a career in MSE provides and have always enjoyed the practical aspect of it such as analysis.  I enjoy working towards a wider goal where my research contributes to real world applications and improves industrial processes.  

MSE enables you to work on a current research area and has the potential for you to see something you have worked on be introduced to the mainstream market.  

What did you enjoy most about your MSE course?  

The most enjoyable part was that the course covered all the aspects of chemistry and in depth practical experiments that enabled me to apply the knowledge I had gained.  

The practical side meant I had a comprehensive understanding of a vast amount of practical techniques and analytical equipment before starting my masters and EngD. 

What is your research about?  

I am researching chromium coated steel that is used to produce the food cans that are sold in supermarkets. I am using various analytical instruments and practical techniques to compare the performance of the new, coated steel substrates with the one that is currently approved for use to make food cans.  

The reason it is being replaced is because EU legislation requires the chromium compound that is used in the production process, known as electroplating, to be replaced with an alternative chromium compound. I am also studying new organic lacquers with which to coat the cans as these are also being replaced.  

What is the coolest thing you have done in your career so far? 

I worked on the development of a new product for my previous employer to sell and helped scale it up to mass production.  

What do you see yourself doing in the future? 

In the future I hope to be working in research and development in the metal industry researching the commercial can making substrates which I have studied as part of my EngD.  

What is your favourite material (and why)? 

Steel, it is a very versatile material and its chemistry can be altered to change the material properties to suit any application. It is also a recyclable making it sustainable and better for the environment.  

What advice would you give your 16-year-old self? 

Do what you enjoy as it determines your whole future, and work hard to achieve your goals as career satisfaction is worth it!

Links to Emily’s external webpages: