The use of surface coatings in industry is rapidly increasing. Surface coatings, used principally for their wear qualities, can be divided into three broad categories: chemical platings, hard facings, and flame spraying. Processes are briefly described; examples are given of the uses of the surface coatings produced; and comparisons are made. Particular attention is given to the various flame spray processes and coatings. The importance of particle velocity to the qualities of flame spray coatings is demonstrated. Examples are given of some recent advances in the technology of flame spray surface coatings, and related data are presented. Porosity of coatings and porosity measurement techniques; efficacy of epoxy sealing of coatings for enhanced corrosion protection; very high purity plasma-applied compositions; and the use of plasma coating techniques to fabricate parts are discussed.