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NSERC Magnesium Network


Carbon dioxide emissions from the transportation sector contribute 25 percent of Canada’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and that number is growing. The Government of Canada has set a target of reducing total GHG emissions by 45 to 65 percent by 2050. The North American automotive industry has set the objective to reduce vehicle weight by substituting magnesium in components currently fabricated from steel or aluminum; specifically, by increasing magnesium usage from the current level of 5 kg to 160 kg per vehicle by the year 2020.

The challenges are two-fold: to develop i) a low-cost processing route for magnesium; and ii) magnesium materials that have acceptable strength, formability and joinability. The solution will be found only through an integrated effort that explicitly acknowledges the linkages between processing and properties. Our objective is to develop a magnesium fabrication route for the automotive industry that involves twin roll casting and limited thermomechanical processing, followed by a room temperature forming operation and finally technologies for joining magnesium to itself or to other metals.

Network Structure

NSERC Magnesium Network (MagNET) brings together 18 academic researchers from five Canadian Universities (UBC, Waterloo, McMaster, McGill and École Polytechnique), in partnership with researchers from the NRC-Canadian Neutron Beam Centre and CANMET Materials Technology Laboratory, and six industrial partners (GM Canada, Novelis Inc., Cosma Engineering, Centerline Limited, Huys Industries Limited and Dana/Long Manufacturing) to develop new magnesium based technologies for the transportation sector.

The scientific director of the network is Professor Warren Poole at The University of British Columbia. Professor Poole currently holds the Rio Tinto Alcan Chair in Materials Process Engineering and has 15 years of experience as a university professor and two years in industry. He has extensive history of productive collaboration with the key players in the Canadian metals industry. The academic researchers include professors whose experience ranges from new assistant professors to senior world leading professors. This group includes two Canada Research Chairs, two Industrial Research Chairs and two Distinguished University Chairs (McMaster). 

MagNET will receive $4.8 million in NSERC funding and $425,000 from industry over five years. The administration of the network will be overseen by the Network Manager, Ms. Debbie Burgess.

Research Objectives

  • Develop the required combination of magnesium alloys and processing routes to enable room temperature forming of magnesium components which have the required final mechanical properties necessary for transportation applications.  
  • Shorten the feedback loop between alloy and process developers, and the application of alloys.
  • Generate new fabrication and production routes.
  • Work with the automotive industry to produce prototype magnesium components.


The research network will greatly expand the knowledge base available on using magnesium alloys. Canada will be established as a world leader in magnesium technology and research. This knowledge will be transferred to Canadian industry so that the industry can apply the technology to reduce vehicle weight with the resulting benefit of vehicles with lower greenhouse gas emissions and higher fuel efficiency. The network will educate 40 highly skilled engineers and scientists.


Dr. Warren Poole
Scientific Director
Tel.: 1-604-822-3674

Debbie Burgess
Network Manager
Tel.: 1-604-827-5656

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Contact us at 1-877-767-1767