Solving solubility issues: Sebastian’s Year in Industry

Sebastian Feszczur-Hatchett (OE 2007–2014) was a regional finalist in awards run by the Year in Industry scheme, having secured a placement at global consumer products company Procter & Gamble. He is starting his Chemical Engineering degree course at Leeds University this autumn.

Sebastian, an outstanding QE First XI cricketer who also achieved senior Middlesex selection, was one of six pupils – a School record – to be awarded Arkwright Engineering scholarships while in Year 12.

After leaving School last summer, he went on to take up his Year in Industry scheme placement at Procter & Gamble’s Innovation Centre in Newcastle. The centre focuses on the development of dry laundry and dishwashing detergents for all parts of the world.

The Year in Industry scheme is run by the Engineering Development Trust to encourage students into the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) by offering pre-university and undergraduate gap year placements. Successful applicants receive paid employment as well as training and support throughout their placement. Sebastian successfully completed a detailed application process to match him with the most suitable employer.

""“The aim of my project over this last year was to improve the understanding of powder solubility in order to support the design of new products for the consumer in China,” he says. “I firstly developed an experimental method to measure the rate of dissolution of a powder so that samples could be compared. Then I made a model to predict the dissolution of a finished product (i.e. what you would buy from a shop), based on the chemistry of the powder. My work is expected to save P&G up to $210,000 annually as new products can be developed quicker and as variations in performance can be predicted from the model without samples having to be manufactured.”

For the Year in Industry Contribution to the Business Awards North East regional final, hosted by equipment maker Caterpillar at Peterlee, Sebastian gave a presentation and answered questions about his project, although hampered somewhat by the fact that most of his work was confidential.

“I have really enjoyed my experience this year and am proud of what I have accomplished. I would highly recommend the Year in Industry scheme to any aspiring engineer or scientist.

“I hope the skills I have learnt this year will stand me in good stead. My long-term career ambition is to work on the development of cleaner and more environmentally-friendly fuels,” he adds.