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The development of the scratch test method of adhesion assessment is reported. The tangential friction force between the indenter and coating is recorded rather than the acoustic emission which has previously been used to detect the critical load. This method is shown to provide a sensitive and simple means of condition monitoring. Results obtained with this new technique are compared to those obtained by the authors and others using the conventional system, showing that good agreement is achieved. The results of tests on a number of substrate/interface/pretreatment combinations are reported. The implications of the method are discussed especially with regard to the influence of friction on adhesion.