Representing Women in [email protected]: Daniella Guedes Sales

11/02/2020 - Careers

Born in Brazil, Daniella Guedes Sales has spent the past 11 years in France, most of it at Vallourec. At 32 years old, she holds a doctorate in materials engineering, and is currently working on the development of new steels that will make our tubes more corrosion resistant.

Hello Daniella, can you tell us a bit about your career?

I come from Recife, Brazil, where I studied mechanical engineering. From a very young age, I wanted to discover new horizons. This drove me to continue my studies in Europe, where I enrolled at the Arts et Métiers Institute of Technology in Bordeaux, France, for a dual degree in general engineering, with a specialization in aeronautics and space. It was during an internship at ArcelorMittal that I first ran across Vallourec.

After earning my degrees, I returned to Brazil with the idea of preparing a thesis together with a French company located in the country. I had two companies to choose from: Renault and Vallourec. The dissertation topic suggested by the Group appealed to me more, as it would allow me to broaden my understanding of mechanics and corrosion. 

I went through my initial interviews in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, after which I was hired by the VRCF, the Group's historical research center in France. In 2012, I returned to France and spent three years at the Laboratoire des Sciences de l’Ingénieur pour l’Environnement (LaSIE) in La Rochelle and the VRCF in Aulnoye-Aymeries, where I developed my thesis on martensitic steel cracking mechanisms related to Sulfide Stress Cracking (SSC).
In early 2016, I joined the Corrosion Department of the VRCF. In February 2020, I was put in charge of the corrosion team for Project Line Pipe (PLP), in addition to coordinating with our subsidiary Serimax.


With all the resources devoted to research in Europe, and particularly at Vallourec, the job feels very rewarding and energizing."

Daniella Guedes Sales R&D Project Manager

What do you do at Vallourec?

In order to deal with the increasingly aggressive environments and the increasingly strenuous pressures exerted on our tubes, our team develops new, more resistant materials, which we’re constantly testing to assess their quality and limitations vis-à-vis corrosion. 

I’m also involved in projects that study hydrogen embrittlement and corrosion mechanisms for carbon steels. And in September 2019, I was put in charge of a small team of R&D technicians.

Your work must also involve a lot of back-and-forth...

I love getting to share my expertise with my department, as well as with Vallourec’s network of R&D centers. I recently collaborated with Vallourec Tianda, in China, in order to help them develop their corrosion testing skills. 

Working in research means you also have to keep track of the latest technological advances...As such, we participate in international standards organizations, which might take the form of meetings between industrial players, national or international conferences (e.g. NACE, Eurocorr or ADIPEC), during which I speak regularly.

What do you like the most about your job?

I'm constantly learning and discovering new things. I'm traveling and interacting with a lot of stakeholders, internal and external. On both a scientific and human level, it really is a multi-faceted job.The company is open and receptive, and the atmosphere is friendly. And with all the resources devoted to research in Europe, and particularly at Vallourec, the job feels very rewarding and energizing.

Your career has already been highly varied. What impact does this variety have on your work?

Being from a different country and traveling abroad have brought me a kind of open-mindedness, adaptability and resilience, in addition to cultivating my curiosity. These four qualities are very important in R&D, especially when you work in another country. Even though I'm not using them right now, my skills in aeronautics and space have bolstered my scientific rigor, which is also an essential quality in my job. 

In your opinion, what are the advantages of having a cultural diverse team of researchers?

In Brazil, the approach is more pragmatic, while in Europe, thinking is more conceptual, and risk management more deliberate. Brazilians are very close to the ground, and plants are located right next to the R&D centers. In Europe, there are more resources, which is very gratifying, but they’re also more advanced on the administrative side of things. Collaborating with researchers from other countries allows to be complementary and efficient. 

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I’ve advanced rapidly at Vallourec. Before I even finished my thesis, I had an offer letter for a permanent position. And since 2019, I’ve taken on a whole new challenge managing my new team. 

I would like to explore fields other than corrosion, but I'm far from having seen everything this one has to offer! I could even transfer to the US or even Brazil... I'm certain there are wonderful opportunities on the horizon within Vallourec...