Hard disk drives must be designed to withstand shock during operation. Large movements of the slider during a shock impulse can cause reading and writing errors, track misregistration, or in extreme cases, damage to the magnetic material and loss of data. The design of the air bearing contour determines the steady-state flying conditions of the slider as well as dynamic flying conditions, including shock response. In this paper a finite element model of the hard disk drive mechanical components was developed to determine the time dependent forces and moments applied to the slider during a shock event. The time-dependent forces and moments are applied as external loads in a solution of the dynamic Reynolds equation to determine the slider response to a shock event. The genetic algorithm was then used to optimize the air bearing contour for optimum shock response while keeping the steady flying conditions constant. The results show substantial differences in the spacing modulation of the head-disk interface after a shock as a function of the design of the air bearing contour.

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