AbstractThe Mg-2Zn-1.5Mn alloy (ZM21) sheets were hot-rolled in a single pass at 150 °C with different reductions through on-line heating rolling. Microstructures and edge cracking behavior of the rolled sheets were investigated. The in-situ tensile tests at 150 °C were also carried out, the crack initiation and propagation were compared with the edge cracking behavior of ZM21 sheets prepared by on-line heating rolling. The results reveal that the edge cracks are most likely to originate in the rolling direction and normal direction (RD-ND) plane due to the secondary tensile stress along RD. Edge cracking becomes more severe with an increasing reduction. The edge cracks mainly initiate and propagate in the fine recrystallized grain areas and the junction of recrystallized grains and sub-grains with hard orientation. The in-situ tensile test indicates that micro-cracks mainly initiate at the triple junction of grain boundaries where grains have hard orientation with low basal Schmid factor (SF). Meanwhile, those cracks are more likely to propagate along the grain boundaries with maximum difference in basal Schmid factor. Besides, the crack initiation and propagation during the in-situ tensile deformation at 150 °C are found not to be associated with the recrystallization.