This paper studies the effect of high-speed frictional heating over the surface of an elastic material, which has a near surface horizontal line crack. The frictional heating is represented by a high-speed moving heat source, since the mechanical loading effect is much smaller than the thermal effect in the resulting stress field. Finite difference methods are employed to compute the temperature field and the displacement field, taking into consideration the characteristic singularity at the crack tip. The temperature field solutions are first computed, using the method of heat balance. The thermo-mechanical solutions follow with particular interest in the vicinity of the line crack as represented by the stress intensity factors at the crack tip. It was found that both the open mode and the shear mode occur, as a result of the excitation of the moving thermal load. The paper also presents effects on the stress intensity factors from varying the thermal and the mechanical properties of the medium, and the location of the line crack from the wear surface. The depth at which the maximum thermal stress occurs is an exponential function of the Peclet number, as in the cases when there is no defect in the wear material and when there is a near surface cavity. Albeit, the “critical depth” reduces with increasing Peclet number and severity of the defect.

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