Some fundamental characteristics of the subambient pressure air bearing suction force were investigated analytically and numerically. The performance of air bearing suction force is strongly determined by the cavity bearing number, in which the cavity region recess depth is used as the characteristic film thickness. Although the optimal recess depth for maximum, suction force varies for different operation conditions, the optimal cavity bearing number can be found in a wide range of applications. The analytical model was confirmed by a finite element analysis. Examples of different disc velocities, slider dimensions, and ambient pressure effect were presented.

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