This paper presents a study into the gas lubrication capability of an ultra-thin 0.025 μm film (converted value for ambient air film). The experimental results obtained using subambient helium as the lubricating film are compared with the calculated results using the modified Reynolds equation considering flow slippage due to the molecular mean free path effects. This comparison confirms that the slip flow model holds true within the range of the present experiments, and that the modified Reynolds equation is applicable for designing the computer flying heads operating at such thin spacing. The reason for the excellent agreement is discussed considering the locality of rarefaction effects on the lubricating surfaces and the anisotropy of these effects between the film thickness and the slider width.

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