Anthony Pupillo - 2018 Steel Intern Scholar
My internship was working as a metallurgy intern at Steel Dynamics Inc. – The Techs Division in Pittsburgh, Pa., which is a continuous galvanizing line. In this position, I worked on a variety of projects as well as duties related to the day-to-day operations at the plant.
I assisted the plant metallurgist by playing an active support role in his projects as well as performing various duties relating to the production process. Some of the daily operational responsibilities included quality control testing and reviewing coating weight charts of the finished product for proper ASTM specifications. I also had the opportunity to perform the grain size analysis and prepared the report for a quality review.
My main project was to investigate the variables affecting the alloy layer of the galvanized steel. The method used in this study was metallography and bath chemistry spectroscopy. In the summer of 2017, I developed a metallographic preparation technique for zinc-coated steel to view the microstructures and documented the procedure. This summer I implemented the procedure in the alloy layer study. The goal was to analyze the aluminum composition to optimize adherence of zinc to the steel substrate. I researched articles on hot-dip zinc to gain a general knowledge of the microstructural phases. I then prepared metallographic samples with various aluminum composition, steel gauge and zinc coating weights to get a general representation of the alloy layer structure.
The most challenging part of the internship was controlling for corrosion of the zinc during polishing and troubleshooting problems with the lab equipment. When the equipment and/or the procedure didn’t work as anticipated, I needed to isolate the source of the problem and determine the appropriate solution. Solving these problems was rewarding, as it improved the production and efficiency of the lab and procedure.
The final step was to ensure the procedure could be reproduced and fully utilized after my internship was completed. I trained the lab technicians on how to prepare metallographic samples of steel and zinc-coated material.
This internship has allowed me to grow greatly and has given me a variety of both metallurgical and professional skills that I will take with me for the entirety of my career. The most significant technical skill that I developed was metallography and metallographic preparation of specimens. I also grew professionally in areas such as communication, time management and problem solving, to name a few. The technical skills acquired directly built on skills that I learned in topics such as mass transfer and advanced engineering alloys. When looking at various microstructures, I was able to draw conclusions on what I was looking at based on knowledge learned in my engineering courses at Purdue.
Overall, this internship helped me decide on what I want to do post-graduation. It solidified my interest in this field. I plan on pursuing a lifelong career in the steel industry.