Functionality of conventional brake friction materials - Perceptions from findings observed at different length scales

W Osterle and AI Dmitriev, WEAR, 271, 2198-2207 (2011).

DOI: 10.1016/j.wear.2010.11.035

Automotive braking is based on dry friction between fixed pads and a rotating disc. Besides macroscopic thermo-physical properties, the development of topographic features on the mesoscopic scale and the nanostructure of the third body formed by wear processes, determine brake performance properties. Whereas modelling on the atomistic scale is suitable to understand mechanisms leading to nanocrystalline surface films, the properties of such films can be assessed best with a model based on movable cellular automata (MCA). It turned out that the presence of at least 10% of soft nanoinclusions is most essential in respect to smooth sliding conditions. It made no major difference whether graphite or copper particles were assumed as soft nanoinclusions. The third body material is not only the stuff which spreads over contact areas, but it also contributes to contact size by wear particle compaction and formation of secondary contact areas. The evolution of contact size is the major feature of mesoscopic modelling and thus it is capable to model and explain dynamic changes of the coefficient of friction (COF) during certain brake operations. Although it is still ambiguous in many cases which feature has the major impact on friction behaviour, the following conclusions can be drawn. The reinforcing ingredients of the pad material serve as primary contact sites and thus define the starting condition for mesoscopic simulations. A certain amount of wear is necessary to provide a third body which is capable to form secondary contact sites and friction layers screening the first body materials. The composition and nanostructure of the third body is important as well, because it determines the friction level and is responsible for smooth sliding conditions. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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