Abstract Various models exist of the 2D impact of a molten thermal spray particle onto a flat solid surface. Such models, however, cannot be used to examine 3D effects such as the asymmetric splashing and breakup which are common under thermal spray conditions. The focus of the present work is on such effects. A 3D model of droplet impact has been developed which predicts splashing and the subsequent formation of small satellite droplets. The model is a 3D version of RIPPLE (LA12007- MS), an Eulerian fixed-grid finite volume code utilizing a volume tracking algorithm to track the droplet free surface. Simulations are presented of the impact and splashing of a molten tin droplet, and the results compared with photographs. A simple model, based on Rayleigh-Taylor instability theory, yields an estimate of the number of satellite droplets which form during impact. Finally, a simulation of droplet impact under thermal spray conditions demonstrates breakup, although in the form of a corona which separates from the bulk of the fluid.