A method for measuring wear on tape heads based on implanting a radioactive isotope in the gap region, is described. By measuring radiation, rather than a mechanical parameter, an analysis of the wear pattern as a function of time is obtained, with an order of accuracy of 10% on a 300-hour scale. The method allows indication of the transition from an initial wear period the the stable wear pattern. From such patterns, it is possible to predict the necessary period of usage, before stable tape head specification requirements may be made. Eight types of tape heads were measured and the results are included.
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