Program Overview

The mechanics group covers a wide spectrum of disciplines under mechanical engineering, namely mechanics, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, acoustics and MEMS. Researchers in the group conduct multidisciplinary research through the construction of theoretical models, numerical simulations and optimizations, as well as experiments to push the envelope of recording density and enhance the robustness of the (HDD) hard disk drive.

The current research in mechanics group focus mainly on the following areas:

  1. Design and analysis of novel HDD concepts. We play a very critical role in analyzing, and hence providing informative data to help improve the designs of the various HDD concepts that the division is pursuing. This is accomplished with extensive numerical and modeling efforts in:
    • Shock and vibration analyses of the full HDD systems under operational and non-operational conditions,
    • Electromagnetic analysis of the efficiency of the Voil-Coil-Motor (VCM) and spindle-motor of the HDD,
    • Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations to qualify and hence suppress the effects of the aerodynamic forces on the vibration of the HDD.
    • Servo-control performance evaluation of HDD servo-mechanism, including dual-stage servo-mechanical systems with micro-actuator device.


  2. With the growing needs for large data storage in the data centers, such as in cloud computing, more HDDs are packed into the storage servers to keep up with the storage requirements. This however can leads to degradation of the HDD data transfer performance, which is often due to the vibration coupling issue that is transmitted among the operating drives. Here, we investigate this problem to understand more in-depth on the vibration transmission characteristics of drives inside the server chassis, so that we can improve the designs of the chassis to reduce the vibration transmission levels.

The research team possesses the following capabilities:

  1. Conduct modeling, simulations and analysis of complex mechanical systems, such as the full HDD and its sub-systems. We have multi-disciplinary modeling and simulation capabilities in the field of structural dynamics, electromagnetics, and CFD studies.
  2. We have also acquired the following state-of-the-art equipment to perform various experiments, such as shock and vibration tests, acoustic level of HDD, and HDD performance tests under different environmental conditions.

    • 1D, 3D and Scanning Laser Doppler Vibrometer (LDV)
    • Linear and Rotary Shakers
    • Pneumatically operated Shock Tower
    • Anechoic Chamber and Acoustics Analysis Platform
    • Thermal, Altitude, Vacuum, and HALT & HASS Environment Chambers


Numerical modeling and simulation of HDD head-suspension-actuator (HSA) system

Full HDD operational shock analysis

CFD simulation of HDD flow analysis.

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