When to semi-infinite plates contact edge to edge, with sliding parallel to the line of contact, frictional heating can cause deformations which lead to the initial uniform-pressure contact changing to a periodic sequence of loaded patches separated by regions where the surfaces part from one another. This condition will appear near the speed at which small-disturbance instabilities occur. When it does appear there are two solutions or two configurations which satisfy the boundary conditions. One of these solutions is shown to be stable, and the other is shown to be unstable. The derivations may be applied to seals where a thermally conductive material slides on a material of significantly lower conductivity.

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