When heat is conducted across an interface between two different materials, the interaction between thermoelastic distortion and thermal contact resistance can cause the system to be unstable. This paper investigates the influence of material properties on the stability criterion for an interface between two half planes. It is found that most material combinations exhibit one or other of two kinds of stability behavior. In one of these, the stability criterion is closely related to that for uniqueness of the steady-state solution and instability is only possible for one direction of heat flow. In the other, instability can occur for either direction of heat flow and in one case is characterized by the oscillatory growth of a pressure perturbation.

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