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The interface toughness of a thin coating/compliant substrate system is estimated based on the evolution of coating buckle patterns in the fragmentation test. The linear density of coating buckles as a function of applied strain is determined experimentally for a SiOx coating deposited on a polyethylene terephthalate film. A three-dimensional non-linear finite element model is developed to simulate the process of buckle formation in a single narrow coating strip. The elastic energy released during buckling-driven delamination is obtained from the energy balance in the system before and after the buckling event. Both the interface adhesion and the total energy release rate, which includes the plastic dissipation in the substrate during debonding, are evaluated. The apparent interfacial toughness, equal to 15 J/m2 at the onset of buckling, is found to increase with strain. This is tentatively explained by the probabilistic features of the buckle accumulation process, reflected also in the random locations of buckles evolving towards a log-normal distribution of buckle spacings at high strains.