Name: Justyna Janiec-Anwar
Research institution: School of Materials Corrosion and Protection Centre, University of Manchester
Research career length: 1.5 years
Research Council: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Location: Manchester, England
Brief summary of research: Corrosion of magnesium alloys
A-levels (Polish equivalent): English and Mathematics (from Poland)
BSc in Forensic Chemistry, Manchester Metropolitan University
College where I focused on science subjects (mathematics, physics and chemistry)
BSc Forensic Chemistry
Summer placement in analytical lab
Having once started a chemistry degree, and then halted to improve her English language skills, Justyna Janiec-Anwar returned to chemistry, embarking on a course that launched her research career. Justyna hopes her work will contribute to the manufacture of transport with lower carbon emissions.
I graduated from college in Poland and applied for a university course which still had free places but which I had never considered before - chemistry. Actually, I wanted to go into firefighting or fire investigation, which I had been very interested in since my mid teens. I thought that chemistry would be helpful and this was my initial motivation for studying it. In the end of the day, fire (burning) is nothing but a chemical reaction and fire investigation employs a lot of analytical chemistry. Later I learned there is a lot more to chemistry. I went on an au pair programme in the USA to improve my English. Soon after my return, I arrived in the UK at the age of 22 and applied for a chemistry course once more and did not go back to my studies in Poland. After graduation, I started searching for a PhD project, and was accepted onto a research programme investigating galvanic corrosion of magnesium alloys. As we speak, I am half way through my PhD.
Magnesium is the lightest metal used in construction - one-quarter of the weight of steel. Since it is so light, it could be widely used in cars and aircraft, reducing weight of components and reducing fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emission. But it has a drawback - magnesium corrodes more when in contact with a more noble metal, like steel, than it would do on its own. This is called galvanic corrosion. Magnesium alloys suffer from this problem, so my research is looking at how the alloy structure could be altered to reduce corrosion.
I spend a good deal of my time reading about the subject and keeping up-to-date with research done by other people. My experimental work includes using various microscopes, and conducting corrosion tests, which often include electrochemical techniques. I attend meetings and seminars, giving presentations to my supervisors, industrial collaborators and other students. I also present my work at conferences, and I’m looking forward to my first overseas academic trip to Canada.
I think the most fulfilling part of my research is doing something new and developing new skills. I never wanted a routine, where I would be stuck to my desk, and every day is the same. Equally, problem solving - the basis of research - is what I enjoy most of all. I'm quite environmentally oriented, and all the current issues about global warming are important to me, so I feel that my study is helping to address this problem.