Failure analysis and shock protection of external hard disk drive

  • HU Nwosu
  • CC Obieke
  • AJ Ameh
Keywords: Free fall, impact force, Shock, Vibration, Stress, Reliability, Modeling, Simulation External Hard disk drive


Technology for processing and storage of data in portable external storage hard disks has increasingly improved over the years. Currently, terabytes of data can be stored in one portable external storage hard disk drive. Storing such amount of data on a single disk on itself is a risk. Several instances of data lost by big institutions and Multinational Corporation leading to several billions of Naira annually have been reported. As the technology for storing data is improving, there is an equal need to improve on data safety and reliability. It has been estimated that hardware structural failure contributes to over 40% of reported data loss annually worldwide.  This case study is aimed at failure analysis and shock protection of external hard disk drive. In order to achieve this aim, the hard disk components were assumed as a single block structure and mass-spring-damper system was used to analytically model its structural responses to free fall drop-impact shock and vibration. Secondly, the hard disk was also modeled as a beam element, which was again, subjected to impact of free fall from selected heights. The analytical results of these two mathematical models are comparable and within the limits. Then, Finite Element Analysis system was used to simulate the impact of stress on the structure of the hard disk before and after enclosing it in a padded casing. It was discovered that the padded casing absorbed shock and vibration from direct impact on the enclosed disk with a significant reduction of stress by 90%. Vibration and shock protection is recommended to be designed into all such delicate engineering components and systems to mitigate occurrence of failure.

Chemical, Industrial, Materials, Mechanical, Metallurgical, Petroleum & Production Engineering

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2467-8821
print ISSN: 0331-8443