The aim of the research project described here is to increase the durability of components under cavitation erosion by electrodeposition of gradient layers. Parallel to the material development, a simulation tool is elaborated to determine the optimal gradient layers for improved load resistance. This helps in minimising the number of prototype layer systems to be manufactured within the project. The initial experiments were executed with the nickel-phosphorus system, which is well-known for its favourable properties regarding hardness, corrosion resistance and tribology. Single and gradient layers are characterised and evaluated in view of the following properties: hardness, internal stresses, ductility, coefficient of friction, wear resistance, elastic modulus and tensile strength.