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A1. Base material. Coating of magnetic oxide particles. Glue that bonds the particles to the base.
A2. Plastic tape is used more than metal because it's more flexible, resists mildew and fungus, and is very stable at high temperatures and humidity.
A3. Analog magnetic tape.
A4. Digital magnetic tape is for computer programs and data. Its base material is about 50% thicker. The tape's surface must not have blemishes or coating flaws because losing even one digital data bit could ruin the recorded computer program or data.
A5. Signal dropout, noise, skew, and level. Dropout is the most common.
A6. Dropouts are temporary, sharp drops (50% or more) in signal strength. They're caused by contaminates that lift the tape away from the magnetic head, or when magnetic oxide coating is missing on part of the tape.
A7. Oxide particles that get onto the magnetic tape.
A8. Signal dropout errors and level errors. The dust and lint on the reel will eventually get onto the tape where it can get between the tape and the recorder's heads.
A9. Usually caused by a cut or a scratch on the magnetic tape.
A10. Skew means there are time differences between the individual tracks of a multi-track recorder's magnetic head. It happens when the tape isn't properly aligned with the head. Fixed skew happens when the tape passes over an improperly aligned magnetic head.
A11. The actual output signal level of the tape exceeds the manufacturer's specified range for the output signal level (+ / - 10%). It's caused by an uneven oxide coating on the tape due to worn tape or defective manufacture.
A12. Tape's performance degrades to a point where it's no longer usable.
A13. Normal wear, accidental damage, environmental damage, and winding errors.
A14. Repeated contact with a recorder's fixed surfaces such as magnetic heads, tape rollers, and tape guides.
A15. Improperly adjusted tape transport mechanism. Dropping a reel of tape. Improperly threading tape.
A16. Ideally, use and store tape at 60 to 80F and at 40 to 60% relative humidity.
A17. Tape deformation, oxide shedding, head-to-tape sticking, layer-to-layer sticking, dirt build-up, and excessive tape and head wear.

A18. Oxide shedding. At temperatures above 130F, oxide coating becomes soft and sheds.
A19. Head-to-tape sticking and layer-to-layer adhesion.
A20. Dirt build-up caused by static electricity.
A21. High humidity causes increased friction as the tape passes over the heads.
A22. Cinching, pack slip, spoking, and windowing.
A23. The tape is stopped too quickly when winding or rewinding.
A24. Pack slip. It's caused by loosely wound tape on a reel that is exposed to excessive vibration or heat. The vibration or heat causes the tape to shift, causing steps in the tape pack. The uneven tape will then rub against the reel's sides and the recorder's tape guides.
A25. Reel has a distorted hub, tape wound over small particle deposited on hub, and tape wound on reel with tension increasing toward end of winding.
A26. Tape is loosely wound on reel.
A27. No. The reel is designed to hold the tape on its hub without letting the tape touch the sides of the flanges.
A28. Using an erase head is slow, and it may not completely erase the tape.
A29. Using a magnetic tape degausser.
A30. Poor handling, improper storage, or shipping damage.
A31. Always hold reel by the hub, never by the flanges. Never touch the working tape surface.
A32. Always replace a warped reel.
A33. Oxide shedding, layer-to-layer sticking, and tape deformation.
A34. Make sure the tape is wound properly on the reel hub, store tapes vertically, keep storage area at right temperature and humidity, store away from equipment that generates stray magnetic fields.
A35. Package reels so they're supported by their hub, use reel bands, package reels in vertical position, package tape cartridges in their shipping cases.

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