Whirling arm rain erosion tests and scanning electron microscope (SEM) tribonietry were performed in parallel with germanium (Ge) flats coated with sputtered DLC films ranging in thickness from 0. 25 zin to ''1 in. Our aim was to establish some correlation between delamination resistance of the DLC under rain drop impact and under environmentallycontrolled tangential shear conditions. The DLC tested at rain erosion velocities of 112 156 and 201 in. s1 (250 350 and 450 mph) showed a correlation between DLC thickness and mnicrofracturecaused delamination where the pit density decreased and pit size increased with coating thickness. Sliding a CVD polycrystalline diamond covered a-SiC pin tip against DLC-coated e flats undr controlled loads speeds and in 1. 33 x 10 Pa (1 x 10 torr) vacuum of the SEM triboineter abrasively removed the thin films inunediately. The thick films lasted for 3 to 10 cycles followed by catastrophic delamination from the wear path in large flakes. The data indicate that delamination of the DLC under any of the test conditions is controlled mainly by the increasing internal stresses developing with progressively higher film thicknesses. These tests served as a prelixainary study using high temperature SEM tribometry measuring abrasion resistance of DLC and polycrystalline diamond films as an approximation for rain erosion resistance under ultrahigh velocity and thermal shock conditions. SPIE Vol. 1325 Diamond Optics /11 (1990) / 99© (1990) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.