On my first day of work at British Steel, I met my boss in the admin building. I was told to follow his car onto the site to where we’re located. After we passed through the security gates, we turned left then took a sharp right, and at that very moment, I knew I would like it here.
What I experienced felt like a scene taken from a movie. On each side there were huge factory buildings. Wisps of steam were wheezing out of a large pipeline high in the air above me. As I turned a corner, another puff of steam drifted across the road. We drove straight through the cloud, and as the steam faded behind us, I caught myself thinking: it’s hard to imagine a more atmospheric entrance.
How did I end up here? It’s been a long journey. In a way, perhaps I’ve been on this journey since I was nothing more than a kid back in Sweden. I don’t know exactly when my fascination for technology started, but I’ve been told by my parents that I enjoyed standing and watching excavators work.
When I finally got to choose an educational path at 15 years old, I quite naturally chose a technology focused education, which contained both CAD (engineering drawings on a computer) as well as solid mechanics (essentially calculating if something will break when used). I also read about machining, but before we could learn about CNC (programming machines to machine from a drawing), we had to study some materials science.
Have you ever had a moment where you realise, there’s so much of the world around you, but you have no idea how it actually works? That’s what I had with materials science. Look around you. Everything you see around you, the behaviour of every object interacting with another, that’s materials science, and that’s why I’m here. Not for my fiancée (though she is the reason I moved to the UK), but for materials science.
I’m sure most of you have hit a nail with a hammer. Really hit it there, flattening out the top. Did you ever stop to think why it was the nail deforming, and not the hammer? They’re both steel, aren’t they? That’s where materials science starts, and that’s what I do at British Steel. I work in the Rail Technologies department proving how well rail products perform in track. Keep an eye out for more blogs as I get more experience in the rail team.