High quality factor of dynamic structures at micro and nano scale is exploited in various applications of micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and nano electro-mechanical system. The quality factor of such devices can be very high in vacuum. However, when vacuum is not desirable or not possible, the tiny structures must vibrate in air or some other gas at pressure levels that may vary from atmospheric to low vacuum. The interaction of the surrounding fluid with the vibrating structure leads to dissipation, thus bringing down the quality factor. Depending on the ambient fluid pressure or the gap between the vibrating and the fixed structure, the fluid motion can range from continuum flow to molecular flow giving a wide range of dissipation. The relevant fluid flow characteristics are determined by the Knudsen number which is the ratio of the mean free path of the gas molecule to the characteristic flow length of the device. This number is very small for continuum flow and reasonably big for molecular flow. In this paper, we study the effect of fluid pressure on the quality factor by carrying out experiments on a MEMS device that consists of a double gimbaled torsional resonator. Such devices are commonly used in optical cross-connects and switches. We only vary fluid pressure to make the Knudsen number go through the entire range of continuum flow, slip flow, transition flow, and molecular flow. We experimentally determine the quality factor of the torsional resonator at different air pressures ranging from 760 Torr to 0.001 Torr. The variation of this pressure over six orders of magnitude ensures required rarefaction to range over all flow conditions. Finally, we get the variation of quality factor with pressure. The result indicates that the quality factor, Q, follows a power law, Q ∝P –r , with different values of the exponent r in different flow regimes. In the second part of the paper, we propose the use of effective viscosity for considering velocity slip conditions in solving Navier–Stokes equation numerically. This concept is validated with analytical results for a simple case and then compared with the experimental results presented in this paper. The study shows that the effective viscosity concept can be used effectively even for the molecular regime if the air-gap to length ratio is sufficiently small (h 0/L<0.01). As this ratio increases, the range of validity decreases.