Mechanisms of transfer film formation on data recording heads

  • Ciprian Nastasa

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The increasing demand for high capacity data storage requires decreasing the head-to-tape gap and reducing the track width. A problem very often encountered is the development of adhesive debris on the heads at low humidity and high temperatures that can lead to an increase of space between the head and media, and thus a decrease in the playback signal. The influence of stains on the playback signal of reading heads is studied using RAW (Read After Write) tests and their influence on the wear of the heads by using indentation technique. The playback signal has been found to vary and the errors to increase as stains form a patchy pattern and grow in size to form a continuous layer. The indentation technique shows that stains reduce the wear rate of the heads. In addition, the wear tends to be more pronounced at the leading edge of the head compared to the trailing one. Chemical analysis of the stains using ferrite samples in conjunction with MP (metal particulate) tapes shows that stains contain iron particles and polymeric binder transferred from the MP tape. The chemical anchors in the binder used to grip the iron particles now react with the ferrite surface to create strong chemical bonds. At high humidity, a thin layer of iron oxyhydroxide forms on the surface of the ferrite. This soft material increases the wear rate and so reduces the amount of stain present on the heads. The stability of the binder under high humidity and under high temperature as well as the chemical reactions that might occur on the ferrite poles of the heads influences the dynamic behaviour of stains. A model of stain formation taking into account the channels of binder degradation and evolution upon different environmental conditions is proposed.
Date of AwardMar 2006
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJohn L Sullivan (Supervisor)


  • brown stains
  • magnetic media
  • adhesive debris
  • error rate

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