In many sliding systems, the sliding surfaces are not coextensive, so that points on one surface experience alternating periods of contact and separation. This intermittent process can be expected to influence the sliding speed at which the system is susceptible to frictionally-induced thermoelastic instability (TEI). This question is explored in the context of a simple system consisting of a rotating thin-walled cylinder whose end face slides against a rigid surface. The results show that at low Fourier number—i.e., when the frequency of the process is high compared with the thermal transient of the system—only the time-averaged frictional heat input is important and the critical speed is an inverse linear function of the proportion of time in sliding contact. At higher Fourier number, lower critical speeds are obtained, but the dependence on Fourier number is relatively weak.

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