AbstractStress corrosion cracking (SCC) of the high-performance rare-earth containing magnesium alloys ZE41, QE22 and Elektron 21 (EV31A) was studied using slow strain rate tests (SSRT) in air, distilled water and 0.5 wt.% NaCl solution. For comparison, the well known AZ80 alloy was also studied. All the four alloys (AZ80, ZE41, QE22 and EV31A) were susceptible to SCC in 0.5wt.% NaCl solution and distilled water. AZ80
had similar SCC susceptibility in distilled water and 0.5 wt.% NaCl solution. ZE41, QE22 and EV31A had higher susceptibility to SCC in 0.5 wt.% NaCl solution than in
distilled water. EV31A had the highest resistance to SCC compared to AZ80, ZE41 and QE22 in both distilled water and 0.5 wt.% NaCl solution. The fractography was
consistent with (i) largely transganular SCC (TGSCC) in distilled water for AZ80, ZE41and QE22 and also for AZ80 in 0.5 wt.% NaCl solution, and (ii) a significant component of intergranular SCC (IGSCC) in 0.5 wt.% NaCl solution for QE22, ZE41and EV31A. The TGSCC fracture path in AZ80, ZE41 and QE22 is consistent with a mechanism involving hydrogen. In each case, the IGSCC appeared to be associated with the second phase particles along grain boundaries. For IGSCC of EV31A and QE22, the fractography was consistent with micro-galvanic acceleration of the
corrosion of alpha-magnesium by the second phase particles, whereas it appeared that the second phase particles had corroded itself in the case of ZE41 in 0.5 wt.% NaCl
solution. The study suggests that rare earth elements in magnesium alloys can improve SCC resistance significantly as observed in the case of EV31A. However, the SCC
resistance also depends on the other critical alloying elements such as zinc (in ZE41) and silver (in QE22) and the microstructure.