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Location: Royston, Hertfordshire

Number of placements: 2 (1 metallurgy themed and 1 more on the chemistry-side of materials science)

Period of placements: 9 weeks

Accommodation arrangements: Johnson Matthey does not arrange accommodation. However, as we are located in Royston (in walking distance from the railway station) students are usually able to arrange their own accommodation (e.g., in College) and commute from Cambridge.

Profile of firm:

Johnson Matthey is a FTSE 100 company and a market leader in the fabrication and recycling of a wide range of products made of Platinum Group Metals (PGM). PGM are characterised by their high melting points, resistance to corrosion, electrical conductivity and catalytic activity. Processing PGM and the advanced ceramics intrinsically linked with their niche applications, brings a unique set of materials challenges that require a diverse research and development approach. PGM are used for a number of applications across a multitude of industries. For example, in the production of nitric acid, knitted PGM cloths are used as catalysts for the oxidation of ammonia. In the glass industry, PGM provide unequalled resistance to erosion and protect a variety of ceramic substrates including thermocouple sheaths. PGM are biocompatible and can be found in medical applications such as body implants, as well as being key links in the process chain for the production of fuel cells, solar cells and high tech glasses. Crucibles for analytical work, spark plug electrodes in the automotive industry and a diversity of sensors are also made of PGM.

We are looking for summer students with the following attributes:

  • good knowledge of the properties of metals, ceramics and their industrial applications;  if not it is essential that they would have the scientific knowledge and enquiring mind to be able to pick this up quickly
  • an ability to think laterally, innovate and adapt technologies to create new products or solutions for customers.

Project areas

To be confirmed, but there will likely be one metallurgy themed project and one more focussed on the chemistry-side of materials science.

Typical past projects

  • Laser processing and micro-machining of novel alloy compositions
  • Study of high temperature oxidation properties of iridium, and related alloys, to improve both fundamental understanding and suitability for industrial application.
  • High temperature tensile testing of PGM wires, replicating the environment experienced by materials during drawing and service.

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