This work explores the potential of backscattered electron (BSE) imaging as a tool for the study of atmospheric corrosion. The sensitivity of the backscattered signal to small differences in average atomic number and variations in microporosity, allows study of the discontinuous nature of the atmospheric corrosion process and the distribution of contaminants in the corrosion product layers. Quantitative image analysis of BSE images has also been used to characterize the compactness of rust layers.