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This paper deals with disk drive failures that occur in the interface area between the head and disk. The failures often lead to the loss of stored data and are characterized by circumferential microscratches that are usually visible to the unaided eye. The recording media in disk drives consists of a metal, glass, ceramic, or plastic substrate coated with a magnetic material. Data errors are classified as ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ depending on their correctability. Examination has shown that hard errors are the result of an abrasive wear process that begins with contact between head and disk asperities. The contact generates debris that, as it accumulates, increases contact pressure between the read-write head and the surface of the disk. Under sufficient pressure, the magnetic coating material begins wearing away, resulting in data loss.

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K.C. Tripathi, Failure Analysis of Computer Data Storage Disc Drive Systems, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Failure Modes and Mechanisms, ASM International, 2019,

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