Most of the early applications of thermal spray coatings were focused towards providing a remedy to excessive wear degradation. However, as the introduction of such coatings into wider industrial sections increases there is also exposure to other potential degradation processes - aqueous corrosion is one such process. The complex microstructures in cermet coatings have been shown to translate to complex modes of corrosion attack. In this paper an electrochemical test methodology to probe the local/micro aspects of corrosion initiation and propagation will be described. A new electrochemical cell has been devised in which the corrosion can be followed `live` and in `real time`. The surface is subjected to in-situ imaging by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). This paper reports some of the exciting findings which have enabled the sequence of corrosion events in cermet coatings to be defined. The study has revealed that a precursor to coating degradation is the attack of the Co-base matrix. This sets up an environment which can catalyse WC dissolution. The practical and fundamental importance of the results will be discussed.

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