Pole tip recession in linear tape systems

  • Baogui Shi

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The tribology of linear tape storage system including Linear Tape Open (LTO) and Travan5 was investigated by combining X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES), Optical Microscopy and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) technologies. The purpose of this study was to understand the tribology mechanism of linear tape systems then projected recording densities may be achieved in future systems.
    Water vapour pressure or Normalized Water Content (NWC) rather than the Relative Humidity (RH) values (as are used almost universally in this field) determined the extent of PTR and stain (if produced) in linear heads. Approximately linear dependencies were found for saturated PTR increasing with normalized water content increasing over the range studied using the same tape. Fe Stain (if produced) preferentially formed on the head surfaces at the lower water contents.
    The stain formation mechanism had been identified. Adhesive bond formation is a chemical process that is governed by temperature. Thus the higher the contact pressure, the higher the contact temperature in the interface of head and tape, was produced higher the probability of adhesive bond formation and the greater the amount of transferred material (stain). Water molecules at the interface saturate the surface bonds and makes adhesive junctions less likely. Tape polymeric binder formulation also has a significant role in stain formation, with the latest generation binders producing less transfer of material. This is almost certainly due to higher cohesive bonds within the body of the magnetic layer.
    TiC in the two-phase ceramic tape-bearing surface (AlTiC) was found to oxidise to form TiO2.The oxidation rate of TiC increased with water content increasing. The oxide was less dense than the underlying carbide; hence the interface between TiO2 oxide and TiC was stressed. Removals of the oxide phase results in the formation of three-body abrasive particles that were swept across the tape head, and gave rise to three-body abrasive wear, particularly in the pole regions. Hence, PTR and subsequent which signal loss and error growth.
    The lower contact pressure of the LTO system comparing with the Travan5 system ensures that fewer and smaller three-body abrasive particles were swept across the poles and insulator regions. Hence, lower contact pressure, as well as reducing stain in the same time significantly reduces PTR in the LTO system.

    Date of AwardOct 2005
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorJohn L Sullivan (Supervisor)


    • magnetic tape recording
    • tribology
    • PTR
    • stain
    • contact pressure
    • three-body particle
    • XPS

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