Joshua Wagner

Mentor: Dr. Michele Manuel
College of Engineering
"I got involved with research because I wanted to gain experience in the field of materials science and engineering beyond the classroom. I learn best by doing hands-on activities, so this program not only gives me an opportunity to deepen my knowledge in the field of materials science and engineering, but also gives me an opportunity to apply what I've learned in the classroom."


Materials Science and Engineering


Business Administration

Research Interests

  • Metals
  • Composite Materials

Academic Awards

  • H. H. Harris Foundation Scholarship
  • Dean's List, Materials Science and Engineering
  • F. N. Rhines and W. R. Tarr Scholarship


  • St. Augustine Catholic Student Center
  • Material Advantage


  • St. Augustine Music Ministry
  • St. Augustine Alpha Retreat

Hobbies and Interests

  • Guitar
  • Snow skiing
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Chinchillas

Research Description

Magnesium: A Study of Microstructure and its Resulting Effects on High Temperature Strength

In the automotive industry, density plays a crucial role in the materials selection process. By lowering the overall weight of the vehicle, the fuel efficiency increases. Due to increasing demands to improve fuel efficiency, car companies have looked for lightweight replacements for steel and aluminum in the powertrain components of vehicles, in particular magnesium alloys. Despite having many desirable factors such as low density, high specific strength, and good machinability, magnesium is also known to have poor high temperature mechanical properties. As part of the University Scholars Program, my research project will focus on improving these high temperature mechanical properties, in particular high temperature strength, in the Mg-Al alloy family. These high temperature properties are heavily controlled by microstructure. As a result, by varying parameters such as composition and heat treatment of Mg-Al alloys, an understanding of the effect of each parameter on microstructural characteristics will be gained. These effects will be determined by comparing the microstructures of each of the samples. This will be done in conjunction with mechanical testing, in particular high temperature tensile tests, which will determine the high temperature strength of each alloy. Finally, by using the results from both the microstructure comparison and the high temperature tensile test, the effect of different microstructural characteristics on high temperature strength will be determined.