Experimental analysis of galvanic corrosion of an aluminium (Al)-chromium (Cr)-gold (Au) multilayer stack is presented in this paper. The use of two or more stacks of different metal films is common for realisation of various microelectromechanical system (MEMS) devices. However, patterning of the multilayer metal films by lithographic and etching process is very critical due to galvanic corrosion. In a multilayer metal stack film, the knowledge of etch rate of the individual metal layers is very important for designing the process flow for the fabrication of micro-sensors. In the present study, galvanic corrosion characteristics of Al-Cr binary metal stack and Al-Cr-Au ternary metal stack in different etching solutions have been studied. The intermetallic contact area and the exposed metal area in the electrolyte solution were varied using an innovative process step involving silicon shadow mask technique and lithographic process. It is observed from the experimental results that for an intermetallic contact area to exposed metal area ratio of 2, etch rate of aluminium layer is increased by more than two times in aluminium etchant and 80% in Cr etchant as compared to the etch rate of the aluminium layer without intermetallics effect. The results obtained from this study have been applied for designing the fabrication flow and successful realisation of a MEMS piezoresistive accelerometer. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.