Erik Writes His Thesis at Nexam


Nexam Chemical wants to make it easier for students to enter the job market by offering internships and the opportunity to write a thesis with the company. Erik Sjöberg is studying to become a chemical engineer at Lund University, and he is currently writing his master’s thesis at Nexam. Since last summer, he has been investigating how recycled PET can be turned into a sustainable, cheap, and lightweight construction material for one of Nexam’s customers.

At the end of October, the results will be presented, and Erik is currently working intensively with the last sections of his thesis. Over the summer, he has carried out about 100 experiments, melting recycled PET, and adding Nexam’s chemicals to see what combinations and quantities give the best properties when reconstructing the product.

“I have examined two different recycled polymers that have been melted with the aim of reusing them in applications that require lightweight structural materials. I have used different chemicals to test how the viscosity can be restored after the plastics have been melted,” explains Erik Sjöberg.

“Depending on the polymer and what the plastic has previously been used for, different amounts and types of chemicals are required to get a good result. This will then be compared with the properties of virgin PET to see if Nexam’s products, combined with recycled polymers, perform as well.”

For Erik, this is somewhat of a dream for the future. To be able to work on something that makes a difference and that has a positive impact on the world, without anyone knowing that he is the one behind it. 

“Recycled polymers are an exciting area where I see great potential today. Just think of all the plastic in India and China and if it could be recycled!”

In just over a month, the 30-year-old engineer-to-be from Staffanstorp, Skåne, will graduate.

“Before I came to Nexam, I had never heard about the company. During my weeks here, I have received great guidance and gotten to know what it’s like to work as an engineer in the industry. Around here, people really help each other to find the best solutions. For me, Nexam would be a perfect company to work for. We’ll see what opportunities might open up when I have finished my thesis,” concludes Erik.

Internship valuable for all parties

Dr. Francesco Pisciotti, CTO at Nexam, lets us know that they have recently started welcoming students to the development department. The initiative is also valuable for the company.

“As a fast-growing company, it is important to have an agile and flexible organization. Welcoming students is part of our long-term recruitment strategy. During an internship or an essay work, we have time to get to know the person and the student gets to practice at work for real. If the conditions are right from both sides, it can lead to us getting a new employee”, says Francesco and continues:

“We give of our time, share knowledge and contacts, at the same time we get new perspectives from the academy and also the opportunity to strengthen our employer brand towards a very relevant target group of potential future employees”.