The aims of this paper are twofold. The first is to evaluate the applicability of the formula for the crack kink angle-based on the maximum principle stress criterion-for predicting the interface kink angle in a bimaterial sample undergoing indentation loading. This formula was developed for cracks in homogenous materials but in this paper, it is used to predict the kink angle using the mode mixity at the tip of a crack lying on a bimaterial interface. The second aim is to examine the behaviour of the system, in terms of the crack kink angle and contact radius, for various coating thickness', crack lengths and combinations of properties of the coating and substrate. The system that is analysed consists of a planar bimaterial sample undergoing indentation with a tungsten-carbide spherical indenter. Two-dimensional, axisymmetric models are created to represent the system, with subdomains used for modelling the cracks. In order to determine the applicability of the kink angle formula, the angle predicted is compared to the angle that is directly calculated using boundary element method models that establish the angle of the kink which yields the maximum mechanical energy release rate. The second aim of the paper is achieved by varying the material property combinations and coating thickness of the bimaterial sample and observing the effect on the kink angle of the interface crack and the contact radius. The methodologies employed are initially verified on homogenous samples with known solutions. (C) 2004 Published by Elsevier Ltd.