Intermolecular and surface forces contribute significantly to the total forces acting on air bearing sliders for flying heights below 5 nm. Their contributions to the total force increase sharply with the reduction in flying height, and hence their existence can no longer be ignored in air bearing simulation for hard disk drives. Various experimentally observed dynamic instabilities can be explained by the inclusion of these forces in the model for low flying sliders. In this paper parametric studies are presented using a 3-DOF model to better understand the effect of the Hamaker constants, suspension pre load and pitch angle on the dynamic stability/instability of the sliders. A stiffness matrix is used to characterize the stability in the vertical, pitch, and roll directions. The fly height diagrams are used to examine the multiple equilibriums that exist for low flying heights. It has been found that the system instability increases as the magnitude of the van der Waals force increases. It has also been found that higher suspension pre load and higher pitch angles tend to stabilize the system.

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