Analytical R&D support

Contextualize (Pty) Ltd is a consulting company specializing in providing Analytical R&D support for companies in the chemical industry. With more than 20 years’ experience in Analytical Science and access to an extensive network of researchers and high-end Analytical resources in South Africa, we provide companies with quality solutions to product property/performance questions. We specialize in characterization of waxes and polymers in various applications. We do ‘proof of concept’ studies; benchmarking of product properties; structure-property relationships and general Analytical support.

Incorporation of Technology

There are affordable and available technologies that can facilitate learning, improve collaboration and streamline work processes but, it takes time and experience to assess and evaluate the suitability of the technology for its intended purpose. It is only through understanding that you can fully take advantage of the many opportunities that technology can bring to any learning environment. We can assist in identifying and incorporating appropriate technologies and tools to increase your functional effectiveness.

Contextualize (Pty) Ltd was founded in July 2016 by Heidi and Marcus Duveskog. It is a start-up consulting, learning and development company.
We are a team of science consultants with extensive experience in the fields of Analytical Science, Wax and Polymer characterization. We create product intelligence through specialized Analytical services by understanding structure-property relationships. We use our collective knowledge to provide Analytical R&D support for companies in the chemical industry. We specialize in characterization of waxes and polymers in various applications: Hot Melt Adhesives, PVC, Candles and Cosmetics. We collaborate with specialists in the field to ensure credible results for our clients. We do ‘proof of concept’ studies; benchmarking of product properties; structure-property relationships and general product performance troubleshooting.

PVC fusion

A key aspect of PVC pipe and profile production is its fusion behavior. The PVC polymer is known to be versatile in applications as it can accommodate a wide range of additives and fillers in various concentrations, however, the effect of these additives on the fusion behavior and morphology of the resultant fused product is not fully understood. At Contextualize we have investigated a wide range of wax lubricants in PVC fusion and developed an extensive database on the effect of chemical composition, chain-length distribution and concentration of lubricants on the optimal fusion performance.
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Hot-melt adhesives

Hot-melt adhesive formulations typically contain a polymer base, a tackifying resin and a wax to direct the desired setting time. The kinetics of the wax crystallization can either enhance or delay the setting time but also affects the thermal stability and mechanical properties of the adhesive. Our team has developed a library of hot-melt adhesives based on experimental waxes, as well as wax blends optimized for unique applications. We are also able to perform a range of kinetic experiments to test the crystallization behavior of hot-melt adhesives as well as thermal stability and viscosity measurements.
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Recent legislation requires the incorporation of specific quantities of recycled material in all commercial plastics. With time, this required quantity will increase as the circular economy methods are implemented. At Contextualize, our focus is not just on enabling the circular economy but also performing research that gives the best quality recycled product. We have tested the optimal ratios for recycled material incorporation into various polymers such as HIPS, homo- and impact PP as well as HDPE. Production of recycled products at scale also requires different processing conditions to virgin material – our team can recommend alternative processing conditions depending on the polymer used. When necessary, alternative polymers or additives have also been tested when recycled material incorporation cannot produce a product which meets the mechanical specifications.


Wax forms the basis of all candle formulations, consequently, wax chemistry and morphology is essential to the appearance and performance of a candle. Using our library of wax information, we have studied various wax compositions in order to predict candle properties such as appearance, oil bleed, cavitation and burn rate. While candles have historically been produced from natural fats, oils and recently petroleum products, the in-depth knowledge of wax chemistry and its role in different formulations has been underestimated. Our work has focused on developing understanding at the molecular interactions level, in order to predict the best wax and additive combinations for a safe and aesthetically pleasing candle.

Photos/ Get to know us

About usWho are we?

Heidi Duveskog

As director of Contextualize, I use my more than twenty years’ experience in Analytical Science, especially as it pertains to wax and polymer characterization, to provide companies with R&D support to better position or differentiate their products in the market. I also have a keen interest in the use of technology to streamline work processes and assist laboratories to organise their workflow. I am passionate about enabling the sciences and facilitating learning. I leverage this industry engagement in the training we offer by helping university students develop the requisite skills for the workplace through our course: '21st Century Skills for Industry'.

I obtained my Master's degree in Polymer Science from the University of Southern Mississippi, USA and was previously employed by Sasol, where I spent my earlier career working in the R&D Analytical Division and building capacity in Analytical Science in South Africa. My professional interests are: Managing a team of scientists, Creating product intelligence, Analytical Problem Solving, Analytical Laboratory Leadership, Skills for Industry and using technology to optimize work processes.
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Divann Robertson
Principal Research Scientist

I am a skilled researcher with a PhD in Polymer Science, obtained from Stellenbosch University, South Africa with five years’ experience. My research expertise is in the field of polymer characterization with a focus on polyolefins. I have good knowledge on a vast array of analytical tools for correlating structure-property-application relationships of various polymeric systems. Additionally, I have fundamental knowledge and practical experience in the fields of hot melt adhesives, waxes and PVC.

Postdoctoral research and scientific consultation projects with commercial partners allowed me to gain more insight into independent research where I could further develop my scientific skills. I have also been involved in research on academic level as mentor and co-supervisor for undergraduate and postgraduate polymer science students. My biggest passion is to utilize fundamental scientific research to assist the commercial sector with real-world challenges. I personally believe a balanced lifestyle is important and thoroughly enjoy my sport when I am not in the laboratory or behind my desk.

Marcus Duveskog
Technical Director

I am from Sweden and first came to South Africa in 2007. Having been brought up in East Africa I always had a love for the continent and its people. I met my wife, Heidi while working on a research project in beautiful South Africa and it felt like a natural choice for us to settle down here. Together, we started Contextualize in 2016. Since then, the company has evolved and nowadays, we direct the educational initiatives that I am passionate about, through our non-profit company Contextualized Learning Solutions (CLS).

Professionally, I hold a PhD in Computer Science and I am the technical director for Contextualize where I am responsible for the ICT deployment in the company and share the financial management with my wife and co-director Heidi. I manage and direct the project initiatives for CLS with the support of three co-directors.

Kyle Septoo
Jr Business Systems Developer

Kyle has a BSc in Computer Science from University of Western Cape and is Smartsheet Core Product certified. His role is to design, analyze, implement, and maintain business systems and processes that allow business stakeholders to operate efficiently and at scale. It includes communicating with non-technical business users to determine specific business requirements for complex system design, automations and integrations.

Megan Matthews, PhD
External Consultant

Prof. Albert van Reenen
External Consultant

Zoe Brown
Research Assistant

Cameron Jones
Research Assistant

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