AbstractThe effects of micro-addition (0.2 wt.%) of Ca, Sr, Ag, In and Cu on the microstructure and corrosion properties of the as-cast Mg-0.5Zn alloy were systematically studied. It is found that the grain refinement efficiency and intermetallics forming ability differed greatly among these elements. Si impurity also played a vital role in the precipitates formation in all systems. It is generally observed that Mg-Zn-Ca possessed the highest corrosion resistance due to the refined grain size, limited intermetallics and uniform corrosion, whereas Mg-Zn-Cu showed the highest corrosion rate due to the coarse grains, intermetallics activity and severe pitting corrosion. With the exception of Mg-Zn-Cu, the corrosion performances of Mg-0.5Zn(-0.2X) alloys were comparable with the higher concentrated systems from literature, indicating the feasibility of these micro-alloying systems for biomedical applications.