A mechanical model is presented for the “time to failure” of a sliding magnetic head-disk interface system. The principal physical variables include the sliding speed, surface topography, elastic mechanical properties, coefficient of friction, and wear rate. Surface protrusions, such as asperities and debris particles, induce impact and sliding encounters which represent a damage rate. Failure occurs when a specific damage rate, a characteristic for the system, is reached. Modeling uses a set of topographic parameters describing the changing, wearing surface.

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