A three dimensional finite element model of a rigid sphere lightly sliding over an elastic-perfectly plastic multilayered medium under thermo-mechanical surface loading is developed in order to investigate the mechanical and thermal responses during the light sliding contact of a spherical corner or thermal protrusion of a slider with a rotating disk. In this simulation, the effects of the magnetic recording layer thickness t and sliding contact parameters such as normal load F and friction coefficient μ on maximum temperature Tmax of head-disk interface (HDI) and maximum scratch depth h on the multilayered disk media are analyzed for both glass and aluminum disks. The results show that the magnetic recording layer thickness t has a negligible effect on the maximum temperature Tmax of the HDI and scratch depth h on the disk for both types of substrates, but the sliding contact parameters strongly affect the temperature variation and mechanical deformation of the HDI. In addition, the effect of the disk material is also very pronounced.

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