The main aim of this research is to demonstrate the effect on residual stresses of porosity and surface roughness in high temperature 8% MgO-ZrO2 and 8% Y2O3-ZrO2 insulation coatings on Ag tape for magnet technologies using classical lamination theory (CLT) and finite element method (FEM). With this regard, the microstructural evolution of MgO-ZrO2 and Y2O3-ZrO2 coatings was firstly investigated by a scanning electron microscope (SEM). SEM observations revealed that MgO-ZrO2 and Y2O3-ZrO2 coatings with crack possess mosaic structure. The thermal distribution in the each layer was calculated by using CLT for elastic solution and FEM for elasto-plastic solution in the temperature range of 298 K (25 degrees C) to 50 K (-223 degrees C) in liquid helium media. The residual stresses occurred during the manufaciuring are neglected. Due to the static equilibrium, Ag substrate is applied tensile force by 8% MgO-ZrO2 and 8% Y2O3-ZrO2 coatings. We emphasise that the stress component (a.) values change rapidly at coating-substrate interface owing to the different modulus of elasticity and thermal expansion coefficient. In spite of the thickness of Ag substrate, the stress components vary from tensile to compressive. In addition, along the thickness of Mgo-ZrO2 and Y2O3-ZrO2 coatings and Ag substrate system, the stress distribution changes linearly. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.