The methodology has been developed for both the evaluation and analysis of slider/disk interface phenomena. We have been studying the direct relationships between the acoustic emission (AE) signal and wear of materials. The power in the AE signal is directly related to the power required for material removal in the wear process. This technique has been successfully applied to monitoring the wear of the tri-pad contact slider and the disk. The AE transducers were directly mounted onto both the arm with the slider and the disk in order to measure the slider/disk contact behavior. The AE transducer output from the disk was transmitted by the slip ring and the brush. The predicted wear of the slider and the disk based on the AE signals were computed from the relationship mentioned above. The measured wear of the slider and the disk were obtained by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and an optical surface analyzer (OSA) respectively. According to the experimental results, the predicted wear of both the slider and the disk using AE signals agreed with the wear which was measured. Therefore, wear can be estimated and monitored indirectly in-situ using the AE signals without direct measurements of the wear volume.

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