Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



SCIENTIFIC REPORTS | (2018) 8:3343


© The Author(s) 2018

Open access



In this study, we investigated how a thermally actuated air bearing slider heats up a fast-spinning storage disk through a highly pressurized nanoscale air gap in a magnetic recording system. A Euleriandescription- based computational approach is developed considering heat conduction through a pressurized air film and near-field radiation across the gap. A set of field equations that govern the air bearing dynamics, slider thermo-mechanics and disk heat dissipation are solved simultaneously through an iterative approach. A temperature field on the same order as the hot slider surface itself is found to be established in the disk. The effective local heat transfer coefficient is found to vary substantially with disk materials and linear speeds. This approach quantifies the magnitude of different thermal transport schemes and the accuracy is verified by an excellent agreement with our experiment, which measures the local slider temperature rise with a resistance temperature sensor. It also demonstrates an effective computational approach to treat transient thermal processes in a system of components with fast relative speed and different length scales. Finally, the investigated thermal transport mechanism leads to a substantial spacing change that has a significant impact on the spacing margin of today’s magnetic storage systems.