AbstractIn this work the influence of stripping/cooling atmospheres used after withdrawal of steel sheet from Zn or Zn-alloy melt on surface properties of Zn (Z) and Zn-Al-Mg (ZM) hot-dip galvanizing coatings has been studied. The aim was to understand how the atmosphere (composed by nitrogen (N2) or air) affects adhesion strength to model adhesive and corrosive behaviour of the galvanized substrates. It was shown that the surface chemical composition and Volta potential of the galvanizing coatings prepared under the air or nitrogen atmosphere are strongly influenced by the atmosphere. The surface chemistry Z and ZM surfaces prepared under N2 contained a higher content of metal atoms and a richer hydroxide density than the specimens prepared under air atmosphere as assessed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The induced differences on the microstructure of the galvanized coatings played a key role on the local corrosion induced defects as observed by means of in situ Atomic force microscopy (AFM). Peel force tests performed on the substrates coated by model adhesive films indicate a higher adhesive strength to the surfaces prepared under nitrogen atmosphere. The obtained results have been discussed in terms of the microstructure and surface chemical composition of the galvanizing coatings.