This is the first of a series of blogs highlighting the most important trends facing the manufacturers of cars, brake systems and brake pads.
You can’t cut corners when manufacturing car brakes. Huge stresses are concentrated on small surface areas every time a car brakes – tens of thousands of times over a pad’s life. Pads must keep giving the same pedal feel and smooth deceleration in all conditions.
In a slow-moving and safety-conscious industry, demands are changing quickly, particularly faced with new emissions laws and regulations. Friction material compounders must develop different formulations with alternatives to copper and other raw materials for H&S reasons.
Our recent introductory article discussed the trends in automotive braking. Here, we’d like to expand on three areas that are most important to car and brake system manufacturers: reducing brake wear and emissions, standardizing pads globally, and electrification and driver automation.
Brake pad wear and emissions continue to reduce
Research is continually reducing brake pad wear, which is also important to reduce brake emissions. Over 90% of PM10 particulate matter emissions from traffic are now estimated to come from non-exhaust emissions. Up to half of that comes from brake wear, and legislation for emissions is being written in various countries and regions right now.
The legislation will most likely include details of particle sizes and possibly emissions chemistry. Car manufacturers are working closely together with legislators. Once legislation is introduced, it will set up a chain reaction where the car manufacturer has to comply, and this may change requirements for brake pads. In the short term, filters or vacuum pumps could reduce emissions to legal levels while longer-term solutions are worked on. At the moment, though, the extra weight makes manufacturers reluctant to add them, and filters are inconvenient when replacing brake pads in the aftermarket.