As magnetic data storage technology moves towards higher areal data density with higher rotational speeds and lower flying heights, the propensity of severe sliding contacts at the head-disk interface is bound to increase. The tribological performance of the head-disk interface will have significant impact on the durability and service life of the hard disk drive (HDD). A 3D finite element model is constructed to simulate the high speed impact event of a slider on the disk surface. For a given design of the disk with known layer thicknesses and properties, as well as that of the slider with its surface texture, the model predicts contact zone, depth force and duration as well as time-history of energy transfer and its partition, substrate stress and plastic zone for a given impact velocity. The effects of the material properties and layer thicknesses on the performance of the HDD are investigated.

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