AbstractHot tearing characteristics of Mg-xGd (x = 1, 2, 5 and 10 wt pct) binary alloys have been studied in a constrained rod casting apparatus attached with a load cell and data acquisition system. The onset temperature of the hot tearing was identified from the force drop in the force–temperature–time curve, and the corresponding onset solid fraction was obtained from the fraction solid–temperature curve derived using Scheil non-equilibrium solidification model. The results indicate that the onset solid fraction for the hot tear decreased as the Gd content increased. The susceptibility defined by the total tear volume measurements by the X-ray micro-tomography technique indicates that the susceptibility increased with increase in Gd content to reach a maximum at 2 pct and then reduced with further increase in Gd to reach a minimum with 10 pct Gd. The high susceptibility observed in Mg-2 pct Gd was attributed to its cellular or columnar grain structure, which facilitated easy tear propagation, high strain at the onset with little amount of remaining liquid. In contrast, the lowest susceptibility of Mg-10 pct Gd was related to its equiaxed grain structure, which effectively accommodated the strain during solidification by reorienting themselves and the ability of the Gd-rich liquid to partially or completely refill the tear at the end of solidification. The results also indicate that the increase in mold temperature [723 K (450 °C)] significantly reduced the total crack volume and hence reduced the susceptibility, which was attributed to the increase in the hot spot size and lesser total stain at the hot spot region.