Two of the most difficult issues to resolve in current design of head/disk interface in magnetic recording devices are stiction and durability problems. One method of overcoming these problems is by implementing a technology known as load/unload, where the system is designed so that the slider never touches the disk surface. One potential problem with this type of system is slider/disk contact induced disk defects. The objective of this paper is to show that the likelihood of disk scratches caused by head/disk contacts during the load/unload process can be significantly decreased by rounding the edges of the air-bearing surface. Using the resistance method, we observe that head/disk contacts burnish the corners of the slider and thereby decrease exponentially with load/unload cycles. A well burnished slider rarely causes any disk damage thus resulting in an interface with significantly higher reliability. A simple Hertzian contact stress analysis indicates that the contact stress at the head/disk interface can be greatly decreased by increasing the radius of curvature of the air-bearing surface edges.

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