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Molecular dynamics simulation would be well suited to predict the physics of molecularly-thick lubricants on magnetic disk surfaces. The difficulty in defining suitable interatomic potentials, as well as the requirement for large computing power, makes this type of study difficult. Treating the lubricant film in the framework of fluid dynamics has proven a much better way to model its behavior. This paper describes a full numerical model of lubricant moguls and ripples formation using finite difference analysis. We demonstrate that both moguls and ripples result from slider-induced air shear. Ripples tend to form at higher disk speed and narrower slider width, whereas moguls are seen at lower speed and larger slider width. Both moguls and ripples are enhanced for thicker lubricants, higher waviness, and lower flying heights. Ripple instabilities that were predicted earlier using a stability analysis are also quantitatively confirmed using this numerical model.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2005