High-pressure die-cast (HPDC) Mg–4Al–4RE–0.4Mn (RE = La, Ce) magnesium alloys were prepared and their microstructures, tensile properties, and creep behavior have been investigated in detail. The results show that two binary Al–Ce phases, Al11Ce3 and Al2Ce, are formed mainly along grain boundaries in Mg–4Al–4Ce–0.4Mn alloy, while the phase composition of Mg–4Al–4La–0.4Mn alloy contains only α-Mg and Al11La3. The Al11La3 phase comprises large coverage of the grain boundary region and complicated morphologies. Compared with Al11Ce3 phase, the higher volume fraction and better thermal stability of Al11La3 have resulted in better-fortified grain boundaries of the Mg–4Al–4La–0.4Mn alloy. Thus higher tensile strength and creep resistance could be obtained in Mg–4Al–4La–0.4Mn alloy in comparison with that of Mg–4Al–4Ce–0.4Mn. Results of the theoretical calculation that the stability of Al11La3 is the highest among four Al–RE intermetallic compounds supports the experimental results further.
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This project was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2006AA03Z520, 2008DFR50160), the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Jilin Province. The authors also would like to thank Shanxi Wenxi Yinguang Magnesium Group for their assistance of preparation of samples.