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 to the stable wear pattern. From such figures it is possible to predict the necessary period of use before stable tape-head-specification measurements can be made. Eight types of tape heads were measured, and the results are included.
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