Leaky Hard Drives Have Tenfold the Capacity?

New Scientist magazine's blog, Invention, is reporting that Seagate is filing a patent for a new self-lubrication technique to be used in hard drives. The new technology uses a material consisting of millions of carbon nanotubes to store the lubricant. As the hard drive spins, a lubricating vapor will "leak" out of the material and spread itself over the hard disk platter, protecting it against fatal head crashes.

The read-write head(s) of a hard drive usually rides on a thin layer of fluid, such as air or lubricant. This layer prevents the head from touching the delicate surface of the hard drive platter. Such contact is often referred to as a "head crash". Since hard drive platters often spin at speeds in excess of 5,000 RPM, head crashes typically result in permanent damage to the drive and is responsible for the infamous "click of death."

"More magnetically stored information can be squeezed onto a hard disc by heating it. This changes the magnetic properties of the regions used to hold data so that they can be packed more closely together. Unfortunately this heating evaporates the lubricant that lets a recording head travel over a disk smoothly."

Seagate claims the new lubrication technology will allow the creation of hard drives with a capacity of up to ten times of what is possible today. However, don't expect to see this technology touted as a feature in commercial products anytime soon.