Mary Wells


CIM Distinguished Lecturers

Professor Mary Wells earned her metallurgical and materials engineering degree from McGill University and her Ph.D from the University of British Columbia in 1996. She joined the University of Guelph in 2017 as Dean of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

Prior to the University of Guelph, she was a professor in the Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering Department at the University of Waterloo. Her research addresses the relationship between processing, structure and properties for advanced metallic alloys used in the transportation sector.  

Wells has spent the past decade addressing the continued under-representation of women in the engineering profession. In 2013, she was appointed the chair of the Ontario Network for Women in Engineering. To improve the gender diversity of the engineering profession, she has led initiatives to both understand the root causes of the lack of participation of women in engineering as well as programs to address these barriers.

Wells is the past president of CIM's Metallurgical and Materials Society. She is the co-author of two books on women in mining published by CIM: Women of Impact and Women of Innovation. (To read excerpts of Women of Innovation, click here.)

Lecture Abstract


Magnesium-Alloy Forgings for Automotive Applications

The automotive industry is in the midst of a significant shift with the use of lightweight materials at the forefront of automotive vehicle design considerations to improve fuel economy. Today, light weighting represents the one of the nearest short term solutions to help the automotive industry meet the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards set out by government in the USA. Today’s interest in magnesium alloys for automotive applications is based on its high strength/weight properties. For this reason, magnesium alloys are very attractive as structural materials in all applications where weight savings are of great concern such as automobiles. Historically, the most prevalent manufacturing process for magnesium automotive components has been die casting, with over 90% of all magnesium products produced by this method. While casting is a cost-effective way to produce magnesium components, casting defects and inadequate mechanical properties limit automotive applications. Wrought magnesium alloys produced via processes such as forging typically have better mechanical properties than castings; however there is relatively little scientific knowledge on the best way to forge different magnesium alloys and knowledge about the effects of forging on microstructure and final mechanical properties is lacking. The talk presents a collaborative research program in Canada with Ford, Multimatic and a national government lab CANMETMaterials to investigate the design and forging of a full size control arm forged from a variety of magnesium alloys including, AZ31, AZ80 and ZK60.