In this study, a thermal stress analysis was performed in WC-Co/Cr-Ni multilayer coatings deposited on 316L steel substrate during the cooling process from 1273 K to room temperature. Firstly, the cooling curve of this coating system was measured by a thermocouple, experimentally. Then, this curve was considered for numerical analysis. With this regard, a transient thermal analysis was carried out using finite element method (FEM) utilizing ANSYS software. Thermal residual stresses were calculated for all system and were compared for different nodes selected in terms of concentrated stress areas on the model. The compressive and tensile stresses occurred in WC-Co/Cr-Ni coatings and 316L substrate owing to the different thermal expansion coefficients in each material, respectively. Additionally, the cooling curves determined from experimental and numerical studies are very similar to each other and the differences between them can be neglected. Crown Copyright (C) 2008 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.