This paper describes the derivation and numerical solution of a lubrication equation appropriate for high Knudsen number flows and certain types of striated rough surfaces. The derivation begins with the compressible form of the lubrication equation together with the nonlinear series form of the Poiseuille flow reported by Fukui and Kaneko (1990, “A Database for Interpolation of Poiseuille Flow Rates for High Knudsen Number Lubrication Problems,” ASME J. Tribol., 112, pp. 78–83.). A multiple-scale analysis is performed on the lubrication equation for a finite-width time-dependent bearing and is limited to either stationary-transverse or longitudinal striated surface roughness of very short length scale. The rough surface averaging that takes place within the multiple-scale analysis includes a fully coupled treatment of the Poiseuille flow. What results is an especially nonlinear lubrication equation with averaged surface roughness effects that is appropriate for high Knudsen number analysis. A rotational transformation is also introduced to provide the roughness averaged lubrication equation in a form that allows analysis of the skewed orientation of a recording head slider with roughness defined relative to the direction of disk motion but with the lubrication equation conveniently expressed in the coordinate system of the slider. A factored-implicit numerical algorithm is described that provides the solution of the roughness averaged lubrication equation. Even though the lubrication equation is highly nonlinear, the numerical scheme is crafted to be fully second-order, time-accurate, and noniterative for tracking the solution in time either to an asymptotic steady-state or in response to a dynamic event. Numerical solutions of several simple geometry bearings are presented that utilize parameters that are typical of the slider-disk interface of current hard disk drives. It is anticipated that the primary benefit of this work may be the ability to accurately and efficiently include the influence of discrete disk data tracks in the air bearing design of very low clearance recording head sliders.

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