AbstractThe addition of particles into plasma electrolytic oxidation (PEO) electrolyte provides a possibility to produce functionalized coatings with a wider range of compositions and new phases. In this study, nano- and micro-sized SiO2 particles were in-situ incorporated into phosphate-based coatings and the effect of these particles on the microstructure, composition and properties of the coatings was investigated. It was observed that the size and the melting point of the particles have a synergistic effect on the uptake and incorporation mode. The uptake of the nanoparticles occurred mainly via discharge channels and open pores, while micro-sized particles were mainly absorbed via the coating surface. Different particle properties result in reactive and inert incorporation for the nano- and micro-sized SiO2 particles, respectively. The results show that particle additions improve the wear resistance of PEO coating, although corrosion resistance is slightly reduced. Due to superior wear performance and degradability, PEO coatings with reactively incorporated nanoparticles on Mg alloy might be suitable for bio-medical application.