A novel method for characterization of microstructure of coatings is presented. Properties of plasma spray coatings are affected by their microstructure, which depends on the spraying conditions. Therefore, a detailed knowledge of microstructure is very important in order to know the coating formation mechanism and the properties of the coatings. There are many studies to characterize the microstructure of coatings. In most of those studies, the microstructures are characterized from the polished cross-section of the coatings, and the results strongly depend on the preparation methods. In this study, a new method for the characterization of coating microstructures by means of surface morphology is proposed. The distribution of shape and dimensions of splats were examined using quantitative analysis of scanning electron microscope images from the surface of the coatings. The results indicate that the surface morphology strongly depends on the spraying conditions.

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