Jaime A. De Mora – 2022 Steel Intern Scholar
This summer, I interned with SSAB Americas at their steel mill in Montpelier, Iowa, USA. Most of my time at the internship was spent assisting research & development (R&D) engineers, Dr. Caleb Felker and Dr. Keith Taylor on two of their projects. For Dr. Felker’s project I machines samples of plate steel and performed mechanical testing and metallography. For Dr. Taylor’s project I built him a database of all the ballistic plates that had been sent for testing.
I was most impressed by the culture of safety present at SSAB. During my orientation and in every meeting I attended after, safety in the workplace was emphasized above all else. One program they used both in the mill and the R&D facility if SafeStart, which identified hazards, accidents and near misses to spread awareness. The culture revolves around safety measures and hazard awareness, and even during my short time at my internship, I absorbed a lot of important knowledge and lessons. It was very comforting to know how much SSAB cares about its employees. Their dedication to safety was widespread and I hope that my future employer shares a similar dedication to safety.
SSAB is a very data-driven company, and a digital record exists to record plate and coil of steel produced at the mill. My projects mostly centered on mechanical properties of steel plates. For example, one of my larger projects was to input all the ballistic plate certificates into a database and add their mill data into the database which I would then use to run analysis. I used scrips to input specific chem data and mechanical testing data for over 1,000 unique bundle ID’s. Some analyses I ran showed me a relationship between tested gauge and average strip gauge.
In another project I sectioned off samples of a steel plate and performed different heat treats to test different hypotheses to explain erratic CVN performance. I used 200°C HT to test for undiffused hydrogen, 450°C HT for low temperature transformation products, and finally 600/650°C HT to coarsen precipitates that might be present. This was followed by machining and testing CVNs to collect toughness data. I also spent time grinding, polishing and etching to collect data on average grain size, pearlite area fraction, hardness, and used the ESEM to identify precipitates.
I am very grateful to both AIST and SSAB for this opportunity to learn and grow. Through my internship, I have gained a much better understanding of how the chemistry of steel affects its mechanical properties. I am excited to see how I can continue my career in the field.