Tribology Letters

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 167–180 | Cite as

Measurement and Origin of Tape Edge Damage in a Linear Tape Drive


Integrity of the magnetic tape edge is the key to maintaining high performance of modern tape drives. Damage to the tape edge under normal drive operation results in the change in tape dimensions and debris generation, both leading to degradation in the reproduction of the recorded signal. The objective of the present study is to develop a methodology for evaluation of tape edge quality and to apply the methodology to monitor tape edge degradation under normal drive operation. Optical microscopy, atomic force microscopy and scanning electron microscopy are employed to study and quantify the quality of the tape edge. AFM measure-ments were made on both individual tape layers and the tape reel. An edge quality measurement technique is used to quantify the damage to tape edge. A technique for the tape lateral motion measurement is used to study the effect of continuous sliding on tape guiding. A lateral force measurement technique is developed to measure the force exerted by the tape edge on the guide flange. The effect of normal drive operation on tape edge quality and on tape guiding in a linear tape drive is studied. It is shown that two edges of a factory-slit tape are imperfect and different, with cracking of the magnetic coating occurring at one edge. Under normal drive operation, one edge experiences more wear with larger amount of debris produced. This larger debris generation occurs on the edge with cracks developed during manufacturing. A possible mechanism of tape edge wear under normal drive operation is proposed.

magnetic tape edge quality wear linear tape drive 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nanotribology Laboratory for Information Storage and MEMS/NEMS, Department of Mechanical EngineeringThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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