A new technique using oxygen plasma etching was developed for studying the dispersion of filler particles in polymer solids. With this method, the organic polymer matrix is selectively etched from the top surface down into the bulk, revealing the dispersion state of the filler particles upon scanning electron microscopic analysis. A polymer composite, comprised of zinc oxide particles and a linear styrene‐n‐butylmethacrylate copolymer, was used to investigate the particle dispersion as a function of filler volume fraction. Preliminary data on the effect of a surfactant on filler dispersion is also discussed. © 1992 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Copyright © 1992 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.