An experimental study on the flow behavior near the read-and-write arm in a hard disk drive model with a shroud opening

Katsuaki Shirai, Lars Büttner, Shinnosuke Obi, Jürgen Czarske

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Complex flow inside a hard disk drive (HDD) was investigated using a simplified 3.5″ model for clarifying the mechanism causing flow-induced vibration. In contrast to the authors' related study in the past, our model had a non-axisymmetric geometry equipped with a shroud opening and a read/write arm (RWA). The model is designed to serve as a benchmark to study HDD flows both in experiments and in numerical simulations. The complex flow behavior in the disk-to-disk space was investigated with the RWA inserted into the inter-disk space. Flow measurements were carried out with a test rig which consisted of transparent disks, RWA and covers. The measurements were performed at the disk Reynolds number Re d = 1.2 × 105 which corresponds to the rotation speed of 7,700 rpm of a real 3.5″ HDD. Two sets of the flow measurements were performed - the first Reynolds stress components measured along four different lines with the RWA inserted at a shallow angle (experiment I), and the other mean and rms velocity statistics along several selected lines with two different RWA insertion angles (experiment II). The mean velocity and velocity variance were obtained at a spatial resolution of 30 μm along eight different lines perpendicular to the disk surfaces. The high spatial resolution of the results was achieved using a laser Doppler velocity profile sensor with a physical resolution in micrometers and a velocity uncertainty of 0.2 %. In the experiment I, the mean velocity and velocity variance statistics were mostly consistent with the common findings in other studies using axisymmetric models except for the flow behavior in the radial direction at the shroud opening. The secondary flow behavior was likely caused by the shroud opening which was not included in most of the models in the past. In experiment II, the mean velocity and velocity variance were successfully measured through examination of the flow above and below the RWA in the space between the rotating disks. The resulting velocity statistics exhibit turbulent Couette-like flow in the narrow 1 mm space between the disks and the RWA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1519-1527
Number of pages9
JournalMicrosystem Technologies
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Sept
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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