Material friction

We ask Ian Featherstone of TMD Friction about the challenges facing braking

Published:  25 June, 2015

There are challenges facing the braking industry, especially changing legislations surrounding materials used within the pads. US legislation is calling for the removal of copper while a number of years ago asbestos was a common product in friction products.

To find out how much of a challenge the change in legislations are for braking manufacturers, we spoke to Ian Featherstone, R&D Director at TMD Friction and got his thoughts on a number of questions.

Q: How big a change did the need to remove asbestos from braking create?


"Asbestos was good for heat, insulation and friction generation. There is not one single raw material today that can do everything that asbestos can, so when the legislation was passed in 1985, the early asbestos free materials were poor on life, poor on noise, they had a number of weaknesses. The performance characteristics were good but it has taken quite a long time to get the performance of non-asbestos materials to be on a par or above the asbestos versions. When you think that brakes since the 1900s have used asbestos, the new materials are still in their infancy."

Q: What other material challenges is the industry facing?


"The thing with copper is that it is good as a thermal conductor for friction materials. It acts as a lubricant but at the same time it is also an abrasive type material in formulations. Therefore removing it isn't simply a case of taking it out and replacing it with another material, it is a combination of ingredients to give you the same characteristics."

Q: Is there a drive toward dust reduction?


Q: What other issues does evolving vehicle technology create?


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