5 ways Chemistry has helped shape the modern world

According to the Royal Society of Chemistry, interdisciplinarity between chemistry and other sciences is indispensable for innovation and tackling global challenges.

One pivotal example is the influence of chemistry in technology. The advancements in chemistry, especially materials chemistry, have allowed tech firms to experiment and create cutting edge products that are helping shape the world.

In this article we highlight some key technological innovations that could not have happened without chemistry.


Touch screens

Chemistry has helped develop most of the tech products we use every day like our computer or our mobile phone. Without chemistry the mobile phone would not exist as we know it. In fact, out of the 83 nonradioactive elements, around 70 of them can be found in a phone.

The touch screen on a mobile phone is made of a combination of plastics, transparent metal coatings, adhesives and other products, all working together to allow a single touch to activate the phone. This invention is now in everyone’s pockets and is widely used across most other devices.

However it doesn’t stop there. In 2018 we are seeing a tendency for screens to get thinner to enable increased interactivity. So the chemistry industry still has a lot of work left to do in this domain.



Chemistry has also been at the forefront of nanotechnology breakthroughs. Nanotechnology, the science of extremely small structures, is being used in many sectors from creating higher performance materials to improving efficiency of solar energy production.

One extraordinary nanotech discovery has been the drug-carrying Nanoswimmers. These are nano particles designed to deliver drugs to targeted parts of the body. It is hoped that they will soon be able to combat certain types of cancers and other diseases. As the population lives longer and consequently the global pharmaceutical sector is set to grow by 160% between now and 2030, pharma companies are going to depend on chemical innovations such as Nanoswimmers to help them support this growth.



Chemistry has become a vital player when it comes to finding sustainable energies for the long term. As there is increasingly more pressure to find better solutions, chemists and tech experts have been working together combing their skills to find solutions. We are currently seeing a lot of research around photovoltaics and ways to use sunlight as a source of energy. In turn these technologies are being used to create safer and more sustainable photo batteries for devices.

Although still in the discovery stages, this technology offers significant potential for the future and could soon be found in everyday electrical devices.


Electric vehicles

Another breakthrough technology in the past few years has been the electric car. As the electric car market grows, there has been a drive to develop them further, focusing on improving their performance, battery durability and lightness.

Electric cars have many advantages. They are low maintenance as they have less parts, they are cheaper to run as they don’t need petrol and more importantly they are better for the environment. However, as we stand, electric cars are expensive to produce and not yet dependable enough.

Chemists and engineers are working hard to improve battery durability, and consequently improve the distance range and battery cost. They are also researching lighter materials to help improve performance.

Hopefully, as chemistry helps upgrade the electric car, we will see more affordable models released to the mass market. As Tesla already has half a million pre-orders for its $35,000 Model 3, the success of future affordable electric cars looks very promising.


3D printing

In recent years three-dimensional printing has proven to be a no waste, quick and cost-effective way of reproducing goods. The technology has been used universally, transforming many research and manufacturing sectors.

Advancements in printable materials coupled with better mechanical techniques have enabled new developments in three-dimensional printing. Some notable ones have been printing with metal and the creation of 3D printed vaccines.

In 2017 engineers at MIT created a 3D printed vaccine, composed of 3D microparticles capable of holding vaccine doses. By making the microparticles biodegradable, this type of vaccine could deliver multiple doses of a vaccine over time, helping immunity for those who have limited access to healthcare.

Additionally, thanks to chemistry 3D printing is getting faster. Californian-based Carbon3d are designing alternative printed processes using photocurable resins. This has helped speed up printing from hours to minutes. Their 3D printers are relying on the chemical processes, rather than just additive layering.


These examples are some of many modern day discoveries that have been made possible as a result of chemistry, tech and engineering experts collaborating together – a perfect example of interdisciplinarity leading to innovation.

The future of the chemical sector is certainly looking bright. If you have a chemistry background and are looking to get involved in exciting new projects, then search our latest jobs here or get in touch with one of our recruiters for careers advice.

Posted in Chemical Careers, Industry News, News, Research and knowledge

Chemical careers survey winners are…

During the chemical careers campaign we ran at the start of the year we also hosted two surveys to understand the recruitment process for employers and candidates. These results have now been released, so if you would like to take a look, click here

For those that participated in our survey we also provided the opportunity to be entered into a prize draw to win an Amazon Kindle, and we are pleased to announce the winners are:

From the employer survey: Mike Salmon who works in R&D for a leading cosmetic manufacturer

From the candidate survey: Daniel Trainor who works as a Product Testing Analyst in the North East

Congratulations from everyone at CK Science – we hope you enjoy your Amazon Kindles which are on their way to you!

If you would like to find out more about our chemical careers campaign click here

Or search our chemical jobs here


Posted in Chemical Careers, Industry News, Mobile News, NewsTagged in , , , , ,

CK hosting career workshop at CWJL

CK Science are exhibiting at the upcoming Chemistry World Jobs Live events that are being held in Manchester and London this November. However they are taking their industry expertise on step further, for the first time ever and will be hosting a workshop at the London event!

Taking place on 25th November our workshop will focus on ‘how to build a career in the chemical industry’ and will feature a panel of 6 distinguished chemical professionals who will guide you through their own experiences, give advice and answer your career related questions.

However if you are unable to attend the London event and would still like to be part of and participate in our workshop, then register here to watch it as a live streamed webinar.

 Find out more about Chemistry World Jobs Live:


18th November – Manchester

Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel, Manchester M1 4PH  Register here

25th November – London

Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BA  Register here


The events, which are free to attend, will include opportunities to:

  • Meet with a selection of employers
  • Discover a huge range of career opportunities
  • Participate in round table discussions and workshops
  • If you are a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, you will also have the opportunity to have a 1-2-1 CV Clinic with one of the RSC careers specialists (limited spaces apply).

This event is ideal if you are:

  • Looking for your first chemistry job
  • Seeking a new challenge …
  • Dealing with redundancy
  • Exploring the idea of a career change


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Chemical Careers survey results

At the start of 2015 we launched a campaign to highlight the chemical industry as sector that provides interesting and dynamic careers, and to educate those already working within the industry that there were vast opportunities for progression and diversification using their existing skills.

The campaign was a great success and we received support from industry bodies such as the Royal Society of Chemistry, NEPIC and the Chemical Industry Association, not to mention Universities and 6th Form Colleges across the country.

During the course of the campaign we promoted the industry using a variety of different media ranging from posters, banner advertisements, social media advertising, direct mail and PR activity, not to mention our dedicated website which hosted information about available careers, careers advice videos, a history of the sector and case studies from employers and industry professionals. In addition to all this activity we ran some market research for both employers and people within or entering the industry to see how they viewed the industry and see if those opinions correlated or differed massive. Click on the image below to view our results:

The chemical careers campaign may have drawn a close by the commitment to educating then industry on jobs and recruitment continues in November when we are hosting a workshop and webinar at the RSC’s Chemical World Jobs Live event in London. To find out more click here

Should you want to discuss the results of this campaign or find out more about it please contact our Marketing Manager on 01246 457700 or email gwhittle@ckagroup.co.uk

Or click here to search our current chemical vacancies




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Top chemical job in this week: 02/04/2015

This week’s top chemical job of the week is Process Engineer.  This  job has been selected as it is:


  • With a leading award winning chemical company
  • This company was voted one of the most desirable companies to in
  • The ability to work on exciting new projects as part of the growth of the organisation
  • Offers a salary of £20-29 per hour


Find out more about this engineering job here

Posted in Chemical CareersTagged in , , , , ,

Top chemical jobs in this week: 26/03/2015

Here are our two top favourite chemical jobs in this week: 26/03/2015


Applications Chemist job

  • This role requires a candidate with significant proven experience in formulation within the polymers/ waxes industry, who is happy to work in a hands on role as well as to travel with work where necessary.
  • If you’re interested in this role but don’t have the required experience, related industries include the coatings, adhesives and inks/ dyes industries. Gaining experience of working within R&D but also in analysis, scale up and customer support would be a good basis for securing a role like this in the future.

Read the full job description here


Quality Control Manager job

  • This is a senior level role within management. The company requires a candidate who has specific knowledge of formal quality systems, operating to ISO9000 standards as well as significant proven industrial experience in both QC & development and management of numerous staff.
  • In order to take the step up into a management position, aim to gain some experience of organising, project managing, supervising staff and other responsibilities which will showcase the skills necessary to succeed in a managerial role.

Read the full job description here

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Engineering in the chemical & process industries

As a chemical engineer you will be involved in converting basic raw materials into a variety of products. This involves you applying the principles of chemical engineering into, either:

  1. design, manufacture, and operation of plants and machinery in industrial chemical and related processes ie chemical process engineers
  2. development of new or adapted substances for products ranging from foods and beverages to cosmetics to cleaners to pharmaceutical ingredients, among many other products ie chemical product engineers
  3. development of new technologies such as fuel cells, hydrogen power and nanotechnology, as well as working in fields derived from chemical engineering such as materials science, polymer engineering and biomedical engineering.

The starting salary for UK graduates is £28,000 and the usual starting point is as a junior/graduate process engineer. With some experience, you can progress to roles in areas such as project management, risk assessment or consultancy and many become specialists in a particular area, such as safety or environmental regulation. As there is a shortage of skilled people and the potential for career growth, the sector is highly attractive for young people. The median chemical engineering salary in 2013 was £53,000.

If you are keen to find out more watch our video

Or you can contact our dedicated consultant in CK Engineer


Posted in Chemical CareersTagged in , , , , ,

Chemical job of the week: 19/03/2015

This week’s top chemical job of the week is EHS & Process Safety Manager.  This  job has been selected as it is:

  • Opportunity to work with an industry leading chemical manufacturer.
  • The role is part of a site leadership team directly reporting the Site Manager.
  • The role will enable the successful individual to work across all functions on site including office, operations, production, laboratories, warehouse & more.
  • The role is suited to an experienced individual from an EHS and Process Safety background gained within a chemical manufacturing or related Manufacturing environment.
  • For those interested in the role but without the necessary experience, it would be recommend to develop a career in a Process Engineering or Process Chemist function, developing process safety and EHS as your area of specialism. This should include developing a knowledge of relevant EHS and process safety legislation.


Find out more here about this job here

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CK to attend The London Graduate Fair

CK will be exhibiting at The London Graduate Fair autumn careers fair on Tuesday the 14th of October 2015.  This is one of the largest recruitment fairs in the UK providing you with access to all the information you need to make the next step in your career. At this event there will be over 80 top employers, training providers and comprehensive training program’s, as well as practical advice such as:

  • Free entry
  • Free talks by keynote speakers
  • Free interview, CV and presentation workshops
  • Free CV advice
  • Free postgraduate study information
  • And much more

For more information on this event or to register to attend click here


Posted in Chemical CareersTagged in , , , ,

Chemical job of the week: 12/03/2015

This week’s top chemical job of the week is Service Chemist.  This  job has been selected as it is:

  • At a growing water treatment company who are bringing in a new member of staff as a result of increased workloads
  • The company have recently won awards for staff development
  • Responsible for the delivery of onsite water treatment services, water and system testing and legionella management.
  • Field based – not in the lab
  • Opportunity to work with a range of clients across a breadth of industries including chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food, energy, automotive and materials
  • This role is best suited to an experienced service chemist, who has proven experience in the servicing and maintenance of cooling towers, wastewater treatment, closed systems and dosing systems. Experience of legionella management would be beneficial for the position.
  • For those interested in this role but without the required experience, it would be recommended to gain experience in the water industry, ideally in a chemistry position.


Find out more about this job here

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Chemical job of the Week: 05/03/2015

This week’s top chemical job is a Senior Development Engineer.  This engineering job has been selected as:

  • At a fantastic metal products and materials manufacturing company based in Derbyshire
  • Offers a competitive salary
  • This role offers the opportunity to travel globally when required.
  • This role is best suited to a mechanical engineer with project management experience, who is happy to work in a hands on capacity and with good attention to detail. Proven industry experience is required in the refractory/ metals/ materials/ thermal processing market.
  • For those interested in this role but without the required experience, it would be recommended to gain experience as a technician or within the production/ R&D departments in similar industry sectors. Taking ownership of projects is a good way to become familiar with different aspects of a product’s life cycle, as well as incorporating more responsibility into your career.

Find out more about this jobs here



Posted in Chemical CareersTagged in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Have you seen our chemical industry infographic?

We have created a timeline infographic that presents highlights of the history of the chemical industry from 1660 to where we are today. Beginning with the creation of the Royal Society, to Joshua Ward commencing small scale production of sulphuric acid to the formation of British Dyestuffs Corporation in 1919, to today where the chemical industry is forecast to turnover £56 billion by the end of 2015.

It also spotlights key achievements of the chemical industry and how we benefit from these today in a “do you know” format. Such as “the pantheon in Rome was built over 2000 years ago and is still the world’s largest, unreinforced concrete dome, the Romans were largely responsible for for what we think of as modern concrete” and “for every tonnes of greenhouse gases the emitted by the global chemistry industry, its technologies and products enable over 2 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions” amongst others.

See the chemical industry infographic here


This infographic is part of our Chemical Careers campaign.  The chemical industry is the UK’s top exporter, and growing at a rate of 3% the chemical industry’s demand for new workers has grown exponentially, along with the need for multi-skilled employees. As such this campaign aims to promote the benefits of working within the chemical industries to new entrants, and also those who already work within the science, IT or engineering profession and do not realise how transferable their skills are.


Find out more about the campaign here




Posted in Chemical Careers, NewsTagged in , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Chemical jobs of the week: 23/02/2015

This week’s chemical job of the week is a Technical Manager job. This has been chosen as it is:

  • At a very specialist manufacture of polymer products
  • A unique managerial role where they will still be able to work hands on.
  • A fantastic opportunity for someone who wants to progress to the next level in their career
  • There will be exposure to other areas of the business then just R&D
  • Offers a competitive salary and company car
  • Based in Warwickshire

Read the full job description for this chemical job here

Posted in Chemical CareersTagged in , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Engineering/science & technology careers

There are many ways in which you can work towards yourself a engineering career in the chemical industries, these can include academic routes such as university and city and guilds. However if learning in the classroom isn’t for you, the National Apprenticeship route is one you should consider. By choosing an Apprenticeship you get the opportunity to gain a recognised qualification, develop professional skill and all whilst earning a salary.

Watch this short video to find out what other Apprentices think of their qualification:

For more information on Apprenticeships click here


Posted in Chemical CareersTagged in , , , ,

Chemical careers: what jobs are available?

If you have decided you want to join the chemical industry, your next step will be identifying the type of role you want. Most people presume the natural entry point is working in a laboratory, perhaps as an Analytical Chemist or in Research & Development as these jobs use the education/training you have had so far. However, there are many routes into the chemical industry.

You could decide you would prefer to be more office based for which you should explore roles in regulatory affairs or chemical sales, to name a few.

Or if you prefer the thought of physically being involved in the production of the products you could work on the plant and operations side.

You may just want to work in a laboratory, so potential roles can cover the creation of new products or processes such as R&D Chemist or Process Chemist, or you may prefer to work on the development of new materials, such as Polymer Chemists and Coatings Chemist roles. The other area that features heavily in the chemical industry is the client service side such as Technical Support, Technologists and QA Microbiologists who will respond to the needs of customers.

If you would like further details about the responsibilities of these roles click here 

If you are already in the chemical industry but are unsure of how your skills can be transferred, the general rule of thumb is to follow the materials you work with rather than the function you perform. It’s far more challenging to change from organic synthesis, or ceramics to coatings than it is to move from formulations into coatings.

If you are considering a career move and are unsure of your options click here to contact us



Posted in Chemical CareersTagged in , , , , , , , , , ,

Chemical Careers Job of the Week: 12/02/2015

Andrew Bolton at CK Engineers is recruiting for an Engineering Manager. This job has been chosen as it is:

  • At a leading, award winning chemical manufacturer
  • Part of a new division within the organisation
  • The successful individual the opportunity to grow their own team from scratch.
  • Offers a salary of between £40-45,000


 Find out more about this job here

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Economic growth, and the increasing demand for staff: how to cope

2014 was the year when the UK economy finally seemed to come out of recession after six very tough years. And we expect 2015 to be the year that growth becomes visible again. The latest figures presented by the Office for Budget Responsibility have projected growth of 2.3% for 2015, and it looks like we are finally entering a sustained period of development. The good news is that this progression is across the whole economy and we should see even greater progress within the scientific and engineering sectors as additional incentives such as R&D tax credits; the patent box; investment in training and infrastructure initiated by the government; start to take effect. One of the results  of this growth has been an increase in demand for highly skilled staff within the chemical and pharmaceutical industries across the UK.

According to the latest Report on Jobs published by KPMG and the REC for February 2015, the increase in number of permanent vacancies so far in 2015 has continued to rise, though at a slower pace that the large growth in vacancies in 2014. However the long term growth in terms of vacancies is well above average from the last 20 years. So far this year among the quickest growing areas are engineering and technical (including sciences), followed by the construction and the medical/clinical fields. Other sectors where there is a high demand for staff are IT & finance and while still growing strongly, the number of vacancies within the blue collar fields does not matching the growth rates in the highly skilled sectors. While the expansion within the technical sectors has been sustained and pronounced over the last year, it is envisaged that the construction sector will become the fastest growing sector within the UK economy over the next few months.

The chemical industry has seen sustained demand for additional staff over the last two years and employers in this industry are now demonstrating a much higher level of confidence in future economic growth. With increased levels of investment, they are now hiring additional staff to meet future demands. Liam O Connell, Operations Director at CK Science, the specialist recruitment company within the chemical industry states “We have seen a 15% increase in the number of vacancies registered already this year, which follows a 12% increase over the same period in 2013. The interesting aspect of the current market is that a large number of the vacancies we are handling facilitate future investment, a rise in research & development and also production, while much of the need for staff in 2013 was to take up the slack in the system.”  It is interesting to note the areas where the main requirement is occurring. Within the engineering sector there is major growth within the design and validation fields, while there has also been a notable increase in the need for regulatory and commercial scientists as organisations prepare to meet the increase in demand for their products. Victoria Walker, Senior Chemical Consultant for the North West has also noticed this trend. “Companies are aggressively pursuing new business globally and they are creating additional positions for commercial sales chemists amongst other new technical roles. These organisations are particularly interested in those candidates with language skills to match their technical and commercial skills.” This surge in requirement for staff, however, has met a number of obstacles and organisations must develop and implement candidate attraction and retention plans to meet future growth.

Issues facing the chemical industry in relation to demand for staff include:

  • Lack of intermediate level candidates. Over the six years a great number of highly skilled and educated professionals have left the scientific and engineering industries. They have moved to different sectors, and sadly in many instances to non manufacturing organisations, where their skills have been highly valued and they have achieved better financial rewards.
  • Not enough junior candidates entering the scientific and engineering sectors. It is only in the last few years that greater emphasis has been placed on promotion of technical careers to school leavers within our industries, both at GCSE- and A-levels. Career guidance at school level has been poor over the last 20 years which has, in turn, led to a large number of universities cutting back on the science and engineering courses offered. In some cases, tragically, courses have been shut down altogether.

It should be said that this situation is improving with “sciences” now being regarded as a good area to develop a career, and it is encouraging to see an increased number of school leavers choosing further education in a science capacity. However there will still be a gap between demand and supply until these potential scientific and engineering professionals gain enough relevant experience.

  • Visa restrictions. Traditionally the UK chemical industry has employed an above-average level of highly skilled candidates from non EEA countries. Thus far, this has helped fill the gap created by a lack of graduates and those looking for their second job, in chemistry and engineering roles. However, with the stringent visa criteria imposed in the last few years this door has been shut. Now Masters graduates are having to return to their country of origin upon completion of their studies rather than being allowed to work under the Post Study Work Visa. CK Science has also had dealings with a number of chemical companies who have had vacancies for highly skilled staff, as their existing employees have not had their visas renewed due to the new criteria and have therefore had to leave the UK.
  • Salaries in the chemical industry have not changed much over the last six years; in fact the average starting salary for graduate chemists has decreased – and is considerably below the average UK graduate starting salary. In order to attract, retain and develop the highly skilled professionals essential for the future growth and development of the chemical industry, it is essential that they can achieve a remuneration package which means that they will not be attracted to other sectors such as finance or legal.

So what do we do to improve the situation with regard to ensuring that there are enough suitable candidates to meet demand over the next few years?

  • Plan ahead. Make sure that you know how many staff you will be looking for and at what level as your organisation grows. As part of this plan you should know where you are going to source these candidates – whether it is from internal development, advertising campaigns, or working in partnership with recruitment companies.
  • In many situations it is a much cheaper and more effective option to recruit at a junior level and spend additional time training these staff. It is always worth investigating this option as it is easier to recruit at a graduate or PhD level candidate than someone with experience, and it is a much simpler process to develop them to meet your specific requirements.
  • European market. Due to lack of growth in some countries there is a large number of highly skilled candidates from the Mediterranean area who are more than happy to come and work in the UK. With no visa restrictions, these candidates have the added advantage of speaking a number of European languages in most cases.
  • Schools/Universities. There is a much greater need for the chemical industry to develop closer links with local schools and universities. Work placements, open days and careers advice all need to be encouraged. The chemical industry needs to take the lead in approaching schools and universities to get pupils and students to want to work and study in the disciplines required for the future of our industry. We need to portray a much higher profile with organisations such as STEM and The Apprentice Council.
  • Benefit packages. It is important that we maintain the competitive advantage regarding what is on offer to our highly skilled professionals, as they are required to ensure the growth of the chemical industry. Be creative: bonuses, pension schemes, holiday entitlement, perks, lunch vouchers, career development plans, flexible working hours and more all play an important part in candidate attraction and retention.

Overall, the good news is that confidence in the chemical industry in the UK is at a very high level and this is reflected by the growth in new roles within the sector; particularly in the highly skilled science and engineering based positions. In order to ensure that organisations can meet this increased demand for staff, however, they have to be much more proactive and innovative in how they recruit, develop and retain staff. Remember that the successful companies who will gain most from improved economic circumstances are those who have the best staff!

If you would like to discuss your own recruitment needs with one of our recruitment team click here


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Chemical Careers: New case studies

Chemical Careers has worked with employees across the chemical industries to gather case studies that highlight the diverse range of careers available in the chemical industries. With ‘Days in the Life’ that feature Chemists, a Quality Control professional, Technologists and Technical Management, there is plenty of variety to appeal to all. If you would like to read our case studies click here

Having worked in conjunction with chemical companies across the UK to provide us access to their employees, Chemical Careers have also been able to request business case studies. These additional case studies showcase the assorted organisations that make up the sector, and how they collectively contribute towards the 1.5% of the UK GDP that the chemical industry provides. If you would like to read through our employer case studies click here

If you would like to get involved in Chemical Careers there are a number of ways you can:

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Chemical Careers Job of the Week: R&D Chemist

Sarah Farrow at CK Science is recruiting for an R&D Chemist to join a leading chemical re-agents company based in Newcastle.

The core responsibilities are:

  • Maintaining and improving the quality of tablet and powder based products
  • Reformulating products
  • Improving the internal QC test regimes

They are looking for someone with a degree in chemistry or chemical engineering, who has experience in a laboratory or chemical processing environment – although this is not essential as full training will be provided.  This position may suit a graduate.

For more information on this position or to apply click here

Posted in Chemical CareersTagged in , , , , , , , , ,

Chemical careers release two new surveys

The chemical careers activity continues this week with two new surveys being released. Aimed at both employers and new entrants, the surveys are tailored to highlight the types of roles being recruited for and the skills in demand, as well as the disciplines new entrants favour. CK hope the results will identify trends or predict future gaps.

All results will be shared but in the meantime, if you would like to contribute to our surveys click on the relevant link below:

Further case studies and news articles will be shared this week as part of the Chemical Careers activity so visit www.ckscience.co.uk/chemicalcareers

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