A superhydrophobic coating applied in corrosion protection was successfully fabricated on the surface of aluminum alloy by chemical etching and surface modification. The water contact angle on the surface was measured to be 161.2° ± 1.7° with sliding angle smaller than 8°, and the superhydrophobic coating showed a long service life. The surface structure and composition were then characterized by means of SEM and XPS. The electrochemical measurements showed that the superhydrophobic coating significantly improved the corrosion resistance of aluminum alloy. The superhydrophobic phenomenon of the prepared surface was analyzed with Cassie theory, and it was found that only about 6% of the water surface is in contact with the metal substrate and 94% is in contact with the air cushion. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.