Common disk drive components with chromate conversion coatings or electroless nickel platings were analyzed by ion chromatography for residual levels of Cl-, F-, SO42-, and NO3-. Extraction with boiling DI water revealed levels up to several hundred ng/cm2 for these anions. When these components were placed 2 mm under a suspended cobalt-nickel-phosphorous disk in an environmental chamber at 55°C/85% RH, corrosion of the cobalt disk occurred directly over the chromated component when the total level of anions was greater than 200 ng/cm2. This accelerated corrosion did not occur in a 120-h test when the level was less than 50 ng/cm2. The amount of corrosion was found to be dependent on the separation distance between the disk and the chromated component.
Surface analysis of the disk corrosion area exposed to a chromate conversion coating showed NiO, CoO, and an increased concentration of chlorine.
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