Title:
Shock-cushioning structure
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A small-volumed shock-cushioning structure SA of the present invention guarantees absorption of shocks of different magnitudes associated with two different states of a hard disk, and thereby to effectively protect the hard disk from the shocks of different magnitudes. The shock-cushioning structure SA includes a first shock-cushioning material CAL having a first stress-strain characteristic AL with a first effective cushioning stress, and a second shock-cushioning material CAH having a second stress-strain characteristic AH with a second effective cushioning stress greater than the first effective cushioning stress of the first stress-strain characteristic AL.



Inventors:
Shirato, Kiyoshi (Kawanishi, JP)
Application Number:
10/861380
Publication Date:
06/02/2005
Filing Date:
06/07/2004
Assignee:
SHIRATO KIYOSHI
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/320
International Classes:
F16F7/00; B65D81/02; G11B25/04; G11B33/14; B65D85/68; (IPC1-7): B65D85/30
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PICKETT, JOHN G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WENDEROTH, LIND & PONACK, L.L.P. (2033 K STREET N. W., SUITE 800, WASHINGTON, DC, 20006-1021, US)
Claims:
1. A shock-cushioning structure formed by first and second shock-cushioning materials which are strained under impact stress to absorb the impact stress, wherein the first shock-cushioning material has a first stress-strain characteristic with a first effective cushioning stress, and wherein the second shock-cushioning material has a second stress-strain characteristic with a second effective cushioning stress greater than the first effective cushioning stress of the first stress-strain characteristic.

2. The shock-cushioning structure according to claim 1, wherein the first and second shock-absorbing materials and simultaneously undergo the impact stress.

3. The shock-cushioning structure according to claim 2, wherein the first shock-cushioning material has a shape of a solid having a first prescribed length in a direction along which the impact stress is applied, wherein the second shock-cushioning material has a shape of a solid having a second prescribed length, which is shorter than the first prescribed length, in the direction along which the impact stress is applied, and wherein the first and second shock-cushioning materials are connected in a connection plane substantially perpendicular to the direction along which the impact stress is applied.

4. The shock-cushioning structure according to claim 2, wherein the first shock-cushioning material has a wedge-like shape having a planar base substantially perpendicular to a direction along which the impact stress is applied, wherein the second shock-cushioning material has a wedge-like shape having a planar base substantially perpendicular to the direction along which the impact stress is applied, and wherein the first and second shock-cushioning materials are connected by their inclined surfaces having a prescribed angle to the planar bases.

5. The shock-cushioning structure according to claim 4, wherein the first shock-cushioning structure is longer than the second shock-cushioning material in the direction along which the impact stress is applied.

6. The shock-cushioning structure according to claim 4, wherein the inclined surface of the first shock-cushioning material is convex and curved, and wherein the inclined surface of the second shock-cushioning material is concave and curved.

7. The shock-cushioning structure according to claim 1, wherein the first shock-cushioning material undergoes the impact stress before the second shock-cushioning material does.

8. The shock-cushioning structure according to claim 7, wherein the first shock-cushioning material has a shape of a solid having a first prescribed length in a direction along which the impact stress is applied; wherein the second shock-cushioning material has a shape of a solid having a second prescribed length, which is shorter than the first prescribed length, in the direction along which the impact stress is applied, and wherein the first and second shock-cushioning materials are connected in a connection plane substantially parallel to the direction along which the impact stress is applied.

9. The shock-cushioning structure according to claim 8, wherein the first shock-cushioning material has a shape of a cube, and wherein the second shock-cushioning material has a concave and curved surface for receiving the impact strain.

10. The shock-cushioning structure according to claim 3, wherein the first shock-cushioning material has a surface which is opposed to and smaller than the connection surface, and wherein the second shock-cushioning material has a surface which is opposed to and smaller than the connection surface.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a shock-cushioning structure for holding a device susceptible to externally applied shocks and protecting the device by absorbing shocks applied thereto. More particularly, the present invention relates to a shock-cushioning structure used for protecting a device vulnerable to shocks, e.g., a hard disk drive incorporated in a notebook computer.

2. Description of the Background Art

In recent years, a wide range of information processing apparatuses, including a notebook computer, have become lighter, smaller, and thinner, while achieving higher performance and larger capacity. In order to satisfy the needs of higher performance and larger capacity, an information processing apparatus has incorporated therein a high-density and high-precision hard disk drive (hereinafter, simply referred to as a “hard disk”) as a storage device. In order to extend storage capacity or protect security of stored information, the hard disk might be frequently attached to or detached from the information processing apparatus. Moreover, the detached hard disk might be carried by itself or kept separate from the information processing apparatus.

Accordingly, in the case of carrying the information processing apparatus, shock and vibration transmitted into the information processing apparatus might damage the hard disk held within the information processing apparatus. Further, in the case where the hard disk is carried by itself, rather than held in the information processing apparatus, the hard disk might directly undergo shock and vibration, and therefore might be damaged more severely. Furthermore, even if the hard disk is kept in storage, the hard disk might be damaged due to unexpected shock and vibration, depending on the circumstance in which it is kept in storage.

In order to avoid the problems as described above, various contrivances are employed for minimizing shock and vibration caused to the hard disk, thereby preventing the hard disk from being damaged regardless of whether the hard disk is held in the information processing apparatus.

Because of the ease of portability, the information processing apparatus as described above is widely used indoor and outdoor. In such usage, it is variable as to where and how the information processing apparatus is used. Accordingly, the information processing apparatus might be bumped by mistake against a hard object during carriage, might be roughly placed on a table or the like, or might be dropped from the table when it is used or not. In such a situation, the hard disk held inside as a storage device might be damaged by shock and/or vibration transmitted into the information processing apparatus.

A variety of shock-cushioning structures have been proposed for absorbing externally applied shock and/or vibration as described above, thereby protecting the hard disk. Although the proposed shock-cushioning structures are provided in a variety of shapes, they have a common basic structure in that a jacket, which is formed by an elastic material functioning as a cushion, covers the outer edge of the hard disk, and deforms itself in response to externally applied shocks, thereby absorbing and buffering the shocks.

The above-mentioned common structure of conventional shock-cushioning structures and an information processing apparatus employing such a common structure are described below with reference to FIGS. 14, 15, 16, and 17.

FIG. 14 shows an information processing apparatus having incorporated therein a hard disk held by a conventional and common shock-cushioning structure. In FIG. 14, for the sake of illustration, a hard disk storage section 1c of an information processing apparatus Dpp is shown with its flip-up lid L open. The information processing apparatus Dpp includes a keyboard 4 provided on the rear side of a housing 1, and the storage section 1c provided on the front side for storing detachable elements, such as a hard disk. The storage section 1c stores a main circuit board 2 and a hard disk unit SU in which a hard disk is held by a shock-cushioning structure. Note that the hard disk unit SU is connected to the main circuit board 2 via a signal cable 6 in a freely movable manner. The flip-up lid L is provided as an upper face of the storage section 1c. Further, a display section 5 is provided on an upper edge of the housing 1 in such a manner as to be freely open and closed.

FIG. 15 shows a structure of the hard disk unit SU. The hard disk unit SU includes a hard disk 3, a shock-cushioning structure 51, and a cover 52. The shock-cushioning structure 51 is made of a low-rigidity and low-repulsive material, and has a box-like shape with a recess portion 51c adapted to the shape of the hard disk 3. The cover 52 is made of the same material as the shock-cushioning structure 51, and has a flat plate-like shape.

In the hard disk unit SU, the hard disk 3 is accommodated in the recess portion 51c of the shock-cushioning structure 51, and the cover 52 is fitted into the recess portion 51c so as to hold the hard disk 3. Note that the signal cable 6 of the hard disk 3 extends out of the hard disk unit SU from between the shock-cushioning structure 51 and the cover 52, and is connected to the main circuit board 2 as described above.

FIG. 16 shows a state of the hard disk unit SU when the information processing apparatus Dpp undergoes shock from the side. If the shock is applied to the housing 1 of the information processing apparatus Dpp from a direction of arrow Fa, an impact force is generated so as to move the hard disk 3 along an Fr direction which is opposite to the Fa direction. However, the shock-cushioning structure 51 and the cover 52 are made of a low-rigidity and low-repulsive material, and therefore when the hard disk 3 moves along the Fr direction, the shock-cushioning structure 51 deforms itself in the vicinity of a side face 3a of the hard disk 3, thereby absorbing the impact force acting on the hard disk 3. Such deformation of the shock-cushioning structure prevents the hard disk 3 from being damaged by the shock.

Note that when implementing capacity extension or security protection, the hard disk unit SU may be detached from the housing 1 or only the hard disk 3 may be detached from the shock-cushioning structure 51 and the cover 52.

As described above, in the conventional shock-cushioning structure, the shock-cushioning structure 51 deforms itself in a portion, which is in contact with the hard disk 3 moved due to shock, thereby absorbing an impact force acting on the hard disk 3 at a prescribed rate. However, the impact force to be withstood by the hard disk 3 varies depending on its operation status. Specifically, in the case where the information processing apparatus is in use, a shock-withstanding capability of the hard disk 3 is different between when the hard disk 3 is in operation and when the hard disk 3 is not in operation. When the hard disk 3 is not in operation, a magnetic head is on standby on a non-recording surface, and the hard disk 3 is able to withstand shock even if a relatively large impact force is applied thereto. On the other hand, when the hard disk 3 is in operation, the magnetic head is located above a platter, and the hard disk 3 might be damaged even by a small shock. Accordingly, the magnitude of an impact force to be absorbed by the shock-cushioning structure 51 is considerably different between when the hard disk 3 is in operation and when the hard disk 3 is not in operation.

Referring to FIG. 17, descriptions are provided with respect to the magnitude of an impact force to be absorbed and a required shock absorption characteristic of the shock-cushioning structure. In FIG. 17, the horizontal axis indicates height of fall of a hard disk corresponding to shock applied to the hard disk, and the vertical axis indicates a shock value G at which the safety of the hard disk is guaranteed. Curve L1 indicates variations of the shock value at which the safety of the hard disk not in operation is guaranteed, and curve L2 indicates variations of the shock value at which the safety of the hard disk in operation is guaranteed.

Here, it is assumed that the hard disk in operation is guaranteed to withstand a shock caused in the case of a fall from a height of up to 60 centimeters (cm) and the hard disk not in operation is guaranteed to withstand a shock caused in the case of a fall from a height of up to 80 cm. It is appreciated from FIG. 17 that a shock caused in the case of a fall from a height of 60 cm is approximately 200 G, and a shock caused in the case of a fall from a height of 80 cm is approximately 700 G.

Accordingly, a value of shock to be absorbed when the hard disk is in operation is approximately 200 G, a value of shock to be absorbed when the hard disk is not in operation is approximately 700 G, and there is a considerable difference between the values of shock to be absorbed. The shock-cushioning structure deforms itself to absorb shock, and therefore if the ratio of absorption deformation to shock is constant, the shock-cushioning structure is required to shrink and deform itself in relation to the magnitude of the shock. However, in order to realize a lighter, smaller, and thinner information processing apparatus, it is necessary to reduce the size of the shock-cushioning structure for protecting the hard disk from the shock, so that the amount of shrinkage and deformation is restricted. Under such a circumstance where the amount of shrinkage and deformation is restricted, it is necessary to reduce the amount of deformation to shock in order to absorb a large shock which is required to be reliably absorbed when the hard disk is not in operation. In this case, it is necessary to select a harder shock-cushioning material. However, a hard shock-cushioning material for absorbing a large shock reflects a small shock equivalent to a shock which is required to be reliably absorbed when the hard disk is in operation, and therefore the small shockwave cannot be satisfactorily absorbed. Accordingly, if a space for accommodating the conventional shock-cushioning structure is limited, it is not possible to effectively protect the hard disk from shocks of two different shock values.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, an object of the present invention is to provide a small-volumed shock-cushioning structure which guarantees absorption of shocks of different magnitudes associated with two different states of a hard disk, and thereby to effectively protect the hard disk from the shocks of different magnitudes.

The present invention has the following features to attain the object mentioned above.

A first aspect of the present invention is directed to a shock-cushioning structure formed by first and second shock-cushioning materials which are strained under impact stress to absorb the impact stress. The first shock-cushioning material has a first stress-strain characteristic with a first effective cushioning stress, and the second shock-cushioning material has a second stress-strain characteristic with a second effective cushioning stress greater than the first effective cushioning stress of the first stress-strain characteristic.

Thus, despite its small volume, the shock-cushioning structure of the present invention is able to guarantees absorption of shocks of different magnitudes associated with two different states of the hard disk, and thereby to effectively protect the hard disk from the shocks of different magnitudes.

These and other objects, features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of the present invention when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing a configuration of a shock-cushioning structure according to a first embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a graph showing a shock absorption characteristic of the shock-cushioning structure shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing a configuration of a shock-cushioning structure according to a second embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a graph showing a shock absorption characteristic of the shock-cushioning structure shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing a configuration of a shock-cushioning structure according to a third embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a graph showing a shock absorption characteristic of the shock-cushioning structure shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing a configuration of a shock-cushioning structure according to a fourth embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view showing a configuration of a shock-cushioning structure according to a fifth embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a graph used for explaining a basic feature of a shock-cushioning structure of the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a view used for explaining how the shock-cushioning structure shown in FIG. 3 is applied;

FIG. 11 is a view used for explaining how a variation of the shock-cushioning structure shown in FIG. 3 is applied;

FIG. 12 is a view used for explaining how a variation of the shock-cushioning structure shown in FIG. 8 is applied;

FIG. 13 is a view used for explaining how a combination of shock-cushioning structures of the present invention is used;

FIG. 14 is a perspective view showing an information processing apparatus having incorporated therein a hard disk held by a conventional shock-cushioning structure;

FIG. 15 is an exploded view showing the shock-cushioning structure and the hard disk shown in FIG. 14;

FIG. 16 is a schematic view showing a state where shock applied to a hard disk is absorbed by the shock-cushioning structure shown in FIG. 14; and

FIG. 17 is a graph showing shock absorption characteristics of a shock-cushioning structure in relation to two shocks to be absorbed.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Firstly, a basic feature of a shock-cushioning structure of the present invention is described with reference to FIG. 9. In FIG. 9, the vertical axis indicates impact stress (Kfg/mm2) applied to a shock absorption cushioning material, the horizontal axis indicates the amount (%) of strain of the shock absorption cushioning material corresponding to the impact stress, curve CL indicates a stress-strain characteristic of a low impact force absorption cushioning material, and curve CH indicates a stress-strain characteristic of a high impact force absorption cushioning material. From FIG. 9, it is appreciated that the low impact force absorption cushioning material is considerably strained even by a low impact stress, thereby protecting a hard disk in operation from a small shock, while the high impact force absorption cushioning material is merely slightly strained even by a high impact stress, thereby protecting a hard disk not in operation from a large shock.

In general, it is known that an ideal cushioning material or structure under impact stress is characteristically deformed with a strain of up to about 70%. In the following descriptions, the range of the strain of up to about 70% is referred to as an “effective shock cushioning range Ra” of the cushioning material, and the range of impact stress, which can be absorbed in the effective shock cushioning range Ra, is referred to as an “effective cushioning stress Sa”. In FIG. 9, the effective cushioning stress Sa of a soft shock absorbing material AL having a low shock absorption characteristic CL is about 0.04 kgf/mm2, and the effective cushioning stress Sa of a hard shock absorbing material AH having a high shock absorption characteristic CH is about 0.19 kgf/mm2. Note that the effective cushioning stresses Sa of the soft and hard shock absorbing materials AL and AH are respectively referred to below as a “low effective cushioning stress SaL” and a “high effective cushioning stress SaH”.

However, it is apparent that the soft shock absorbing material AL is suitable for an impact stress of about 0.04 kgf/mm2 or less. Accordingly, the present invention provides a shock-cushioning structure by combining the soft and hard shock absorbing materials AL and AH, such that the soft shock absorbing material AL responds to a small shock applied to the hard disk in operation, while the hard shock absorbing material AH responds to a larger shock applied to the hard disk in operation.

First Embodiment

A shock-cushioning structure according to a first embodiment of the present invention is described below with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2. In FIG. 1, arrow Fg indicates a direction of an impact stress applied to a shock-cushioning structure SA1. The shock-cushioning structure SA1 includes a solid CALL formed by the soft shock absorbing material AL and a solid CAH1 formed by the hard shock absorbing material AH. In FIG. 2, two dotted curves indicate the low and high shock absorption characteristics CL and CH as shown in FIG. 9, and solid line C1 indicates a shock absorption characteristic of the shock-cushioning structure SA1.

Specifically, in the shock-cushioning structure SA1, the soft shock absorbing material AL having the low shock absorption characteristic CL responds to an impact stress of about 0.04 Kgf/mm2 or less, and the soft shock absorbing material AH having the high shock absorption characteristic CH responds to an impact stress of more than about 0.04 Kgf/mm2 but not more than 0.19 Kgf/mm2. Note that at a strain of about 55%, the shock absorption characteristic C1 of the shock-cushioning structure SA1 is abruptly shifted from the low shock absorption characteristic CL to the high shock absorption characteristic CH. The reason for this is that the solids CAL1 and CAH1 are connected in a plane. Specifically, the shock-cushioning structure SA1 is configured such that a shock of up to 0.04 Kgf/mm2 is flexibly received by the solid CAL1, while a greater shock is securely received by the solid CAH1.

Note that in a direction substantially parallel to the impact stress direction Fg shown in FIG. 1, a thickness TL1 of the solid CAL1 and a thickness TH1 of the solid CAH1 are suitably determined based on the size of a space in which the shock-cushioning structure SA1 is accommodated and the amounts of strains of the solids CAH1 and CAL1. In the following descriptions, the term “shock absorption characteristic transition range RT” is used to refer to a range around a strain of about 55% where a shock absorption characteristic C of a shock-cushioning structure SA is shifted from the low shock absorption characteristic CL to the high shock absorption characteristic CH. Note that a thickness T of the shock-cushioning structure SA1 is equivalent to the sum of the thicknesses TL1 and TH1.

Second Embodiment

A shock-cushioning structure according to a second embodiment of the present invention is described below with reference to FIGS. 3 and 4. In FIG. 3, a shock-cushioning structure SA2 includes a solid CAL2 formed by the soft shock absorbing material AL and a solid CAH2 formed by the hard shock absorbing material AH. The solid CAH2 is similar in size to the above-described solid CAH1. Both of the solids CAL2 and CAH2 are formed in a wedge-like shape. A length TL2a of a shorter side of the solid CAL2 and a length TL2b of a longer side of the solid CAL2 are preferably represented by the following expressions (1) and (2), respectively.
TL2a=TL1−TH1/2 (1)
TL2b=TL1+TH1/2 (2)

A length TH2a of a longer side of the solid CAH2 and a length TH2b of a shorter side of the solid CAH2 are preferably represented by the following expressions (3) and (4), respectively.
TH2a=T−TL2a (3)
TH2b=T−TL2b (4)

FIG. 4 shows a shock absorption characteristic C2 of the shock-cushioning structure SA2. In comparison with the shock absorption characteristic C1 of the shock-cushioning structure SA1 according to the first embodiment, the shock absorption characteristic C2 of the shock-cushioning structure SA2 varies moderately in the shock absorption characteristic transition range RT. Note that in order to cause the shock absorption characteristic C2 to vary moderately in the shock absorption characteristic transition range RT, the relationships represented by the above expressions (1), (2), (3), and (4) do not necessarily require to be satisfied, and the shock absorption characteristic C2 can be suitably determined based on a stress-strain characteristic and a shock absorption characteristic transition point of each of the soft and hard shock absorbing materials.

Third Embodiment

A shock-cushioning structure according to a third embodiment of the present invention is described below with reference to FIGS. 5 and 6. In FIG. 5, similar to the shock-cushioning structure SA2, a shock-cushioning structure SA3 includes a solid CAL3 formed by the soft shock absorbing material AL and a solid CAH3 formed by the hard shock absorbing material AH. The solids CAH3 and CAL3 have curved connection surfaces. Specifically, the connection surface of the solid CAH3 is concave, and the connection surface of the solid CAL3 is convex.

A length TL3a of a shorter side of the solid CAL3 and a length TL3b of a longer side of the solid CAL3 are preferably represented by the following expressions (5) and (6), respectively.
TL3a≦TL1−TH1/2 (5)
TL3b=TL1+TH1/2 (6)

A length TH3a of a longer side of the solid CAL3 and a length TH3b of a shorter side of the solid CAH3 are preferably represented by the following expressions (7) and (8) ,respectively.
TH3a=T−TL3a (7)
TH3b=T−TL3b (8)

FIG. 6 shows a shock absorption characteristic C3 of the shock-cushioning structure SA3. In comparison with the shock absorption characteristic C2 of the shock-cushioning structure SA2 according to the second embodiment, the shock absorption characteristic C3 of the shock-cushioning structure SA3 is shifted more moderately from the low shock absorption characteristic CL to the high shock absorption characteristic CH. Note that in order to obtain the shock absorption characteristic C3, the relationships represented by the above expressions (5), (6), (7), and (8) do not necessarily require to be satisfied, and the shock absorption characteristic C3 can be suitably determined based on a stress-strain characteristic and a shock absorption characteristic transition point of each of the soft and hard shock absorbing materials.

Fourth And Fifth Embodiments

Shock-cushioning structures according to fourth and fifth embodiments of the present invention are described below with reference to FIGS. 7 and 8.

As shown in FIG. 7, a shock-cushioning structure SA4 according to the fourth embodiment is configured such that a solid CAL4 formed by the soft shock absorbing material AL is parallel to and in contact with a solid CAH3r formed by the hard shock absorbing material AH. Preferably, the solid CAL4 is equivalent in size to the shock-cushioning structure SA1, and the solid CAH3r has a shape similar to that of the solid CAH3. With this configuration, the solid CAL4 formed by the soft shock absorbing material AL and the solid CAH3r formed by the hard shock absorbing material are simultaneously strained in the shock absorption characteristic transition range RT, whereby it is possible to obtain a smoother shock absorption characteristic C4 (not shown).

In FIG. 8, a shock-cushioning structure SA5 according to the fifth embodiment includes a solid CAL5 formed by the soft shock absorbing material AL and a solid CAH5 formed by the hard shock absorbing material AH. The solid CAL5 has vertical trapezoidal faces in the impact stress direction Fg. The solid CAH5 also has vertical trapezoidal faces in the impact stress direction Fg. As a result, the shock-cushioning structure SA5 has a smoother shock absorption characteristic C5 (not shown).

Referring to FIGS. 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14, a brief description is given below with respect to how the shock-cushioning structure of the present invention is applied. Firstly, an example of using the shock-cushioning structure SA2 to absorb a shock applied to the hard disk 3 is described with reference to FIG. 10. In FIG. 10, the shock-cushioning structure SA2 is applied such that the solid CAH2 formed by the hard shock absorbing material AH is in contact with the hard disk 3, and the solid CAL2 formed by the soft shock absorbing material AL is in contact with the housing of a notebook personal computer, for example. This application of the shock-cushioning structure SA2 is suitable for cushioning the shock applied to the hard disk 3 by catching the hard disk 3 using an area smaller than a catching area of the cushioning material (i.e., one entire surface of the shock-cushioning structure SA2). Since the solid CAH2 is hard, even if the hard disk 3 is caught by only a portion of the solid CAH2, the solid CAH2 is able to deform itself entirely to absorb an impact of the hard disk 3 on the solid CAH2. The solid CAL2 supports the solid CAH2 by its entire connection surface with the solid CAH2, and therefore each of the solids CAH2 and CAL2 can be used to full advantage to cushion a shock applied to the hard disk 3. Accordingly, it is possible to minimize a difference in degree of shock which occurs at the connection surface between the solids CAH2 and CAL2, thereby obtaining a smooth two-phase shock absorption capability.

On the other hand, in the case where the shock-cushioning structure SA2 is applied such that the solid CAL2 is in contact with the hard disk 3, and the solid CAH2 is in contact with the housing of the notebook personal computer, the solid CAL2 is partially deformed by the hard disk 3 with which a portion of the solid CAL2 is in contact. As a result, a shock cannot be transmitted to the solid CAH2 through the entire connection surface between the solids CAL2 and CAH2 but through a portion of the connection surface. Accordingly, another shock occurs at the connection surface between the solids CAL2 and CAH2. Since the solid CAL2 is a soft shock absorbing material, the magnitude of shock which can be absorbed by the solid CAL2 is smaller than the magnitude of shock which can be absorbed by the solid CAH2. Moreover, partial deformation of the solid CAL2 reduces the shock absorption capability of the solid CAL2. That is, the solid CAL2 cannot make full use of its shock absorption capability. Further, the entire shock-cushioning structure SA2 cannot entirely make full use of its shock absorption capability.

Similar to FIG. 10, FIG. 11 is used for explaining an example of using the shock-cushioning structure SA of the present invention to absorb a shock applied to the hard disk 3. In this example, a solid SCH formed by a shock absorbing material harder than the solid CAH2 is provided on the solid CAH2 of the shock-cushioning structure SA2 shown in FIG. 10. That is, the solid SCH is in contact with the hard disk 3. Specifically, the solid SCH is connected to the solid CAH2 which is connected to the solid CAL2, thereby forming a shock-cushioning structure SA2H. Accordingly, a shock applied to the hard disk 3 can be absorbed by making full use of the shock absorption capability of each of the solids SCH, CAH2, and CAL2. Further, the absorbed shock is transferred through entire connection surfaces of the solids SCH, CAH2, and CAL2. Accordingly, the shock-cushioning structure SA2H can make the full use of its entire shock-absorbing capability, while smoothly cushioning the shock in three phases, thereby reducing the shock applied to the hard disk 3.

It goes without saying that any shock-cushioning structure of the present invention can achieve an effect similar to effects achieved by the shock-cushioning structures SA2 and SA2H described with reference to FIGS. 10 and 11, so long as the shock-cushioning structure is used such that its hard material side is in contact with a target object to be provided with cushioning against shocks, and its soft material side is in contact with a holding means such as a housing. FIG. 12 shows exemplary usage of the shock-cushioning structure SA5 shown in FIG. 8 for achieving an effect similar to effects achieved by the shock-cushioning structures SA2 and SA2H.

FIG. 13 shows that the shock-cushioning structures SA described with reference to FIGS. 10, 11, and 12 are provided in a shock-cushioning container C for storing the hard disk 3. As shown in FIG. 13, the shock-cushioning structures SA are provided in four corners of the shock-cushioning container C. Each shock-cushioning structure SA includes a hard solid CAH provided on the side to be brought into contact with the hard disk 3, and a soft solid CAL provided on the side in contact with the shock-cushioning container C. Note that the shock-absorbing container C provided with the shock-cushioning structures SA as described above accommodates the hard disk 3 where indicated by two dotted chain lines. The shock-cushioning container C configured as described above is able to smoothly absorb externally applied shocks in multiple phases.

As described above, the shock-cushioning structure of the present invention can be used for shock protection for a product vulnerable to shocks, e.g., a hard disk drive incorporated in a portable information apparatus typified by a notebook computer.

While the invention has been described in detail, the foregoing description is in all aspects illustrative and not restrictive. It is understood that numerous other modifications and variations can be devised without departing from the scope of the invention.