This part of ISO 14577 specifies a method for testing coatings which is particularly suitable for testing in the nano / micro range applicable to thin coatings. This test method is limited to the examination of single layers when the indentation is carried out normal to the test piece surface, but graded and multilayer coatings can also be measured in cross-section if the thickness of the individual layers or gradations is greater than the spatial resolution of the indentation process. The test method is not limited to any particular type of material. Metallic, non-metallic and organic coatings are included in the scope of this part of ISO 14577. The application of this part of ISO 14577 regarding measurement of hardness is only possible if the indenter is a pyramid or a cone with a radius of tip curvature small enough for plastic deformation to occur within the coating. The hardness of visco-elastic materials, or materials exhibiting significant creep will be strongly affected by the time taken to perform the test.