Atomic Force/Friction Force Microscopes (AFM/FFM) were used to study tribological properties of metal-particle tapes with two roughnesses, Co-γFe2O3 tapes (unwiped and wiped), and unlubricated and lubricated thin-film magnetic rigid disks (as-polished and standard textured). Nanoindentation studies showed that the hardness of the tapes through the magnetic coating is not uniform. These results are consistent with the fact that the tape surface is a composite and is not homogeneous. Nanoscratch experiments performed on magnetic tapes using silicon nitride tips revealed that deformation and displacement of tape surface material occurred after one pass under light loads (~ 100 nN). A comparison between friction force profiles and the corresponding surface roughness profiles of all samples tested shows a poor correlation between localized values of friction and surface roughness. Detailed studies of friction and surface profiles demonstrate an excellent correlation between localized variation of the slope of the surface roughness along the sliding direction and the localized variation of friction. Micro-scale friction in magnetic media and natural diamond appears to be due to adhesive and ratchet (roughness) mechanisms. Directionality in the local variation of micro-scale friction data was observed as the samples were scanned in either direction, resulting from the scanning direction and the anisotropy in the surface topography. Micro-scale coefficient of friction is generally found to be smaller than the macro coefficient of friction as there may be less ploughing contribution in micro-scale measurements.

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