The underlying low-stress cyclic deformation and associated dislocation activities within the slip bands (SBs) in a rare earth-containing magnesium (RE-Mg) alloy were characterized. The results show that basal slip is the predominant deformation at grain scale, but the gliding of 〈c + a〉 dislocation is also visible near grain boundaries to accommodate localized inhomogeneous deformation. The interaction between basal 〈a〉 dislocations and non-basal 〈c + a〉 dislocations results in the nucleation of dislocation intensity zones (DIZs), which subsequently hinders the development of the basal slip bands. Therefore, it is suggested that the DIZs contributed to the enhanced high cycle fatigue resistance of RE-Mg alloys.
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