In this study, the effect of Ce additions on microstructure evolution of Mg–7Gd–3.5Y–0.3Zn (wt %) alloys during the casting, homogenization, aging and extrusion processing are investigated, and novel mechanical properties are also obtained. The results show that Ce addition promotes the formation of long period stacking ordered (LPSO) phases in the as-cast Mg–Gd–Y–Zn–Ce alloys. A high content of Ce addition would reduce the maximum solubility of Gd and Y in the Mg matrix, which leads to the higher density of Mg12Ce phases in the as-homogenized alloys. The major second phases observed in the as-extruded alloys are micron-sized bulk LPSO phases, nano-sized stripe LPSO phases, and broken Mg12Ce and Mg5RE phases. Recrystallized grain size of the as-extruded 0.2Ce, 0.5Ce and 1.0Ce alloys can be refined to ~4.3 μm, ~1.0 μm and ~8.4 μm, respectively, which is caused by the synthesized effect of both micron phases and nano phases. The strength and ductility of as-extruded samples firstly increase and then decrease with increasing Ce content. As-extruded 0.5Ce alloy exhibits optimal mechanical properties, with ultimate strength of 365 MPa and ductility of ~15% simultaneously.
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