The importance of brakes can not be over emphasised, just imagine your car without brakes, that's scary! Brake pads are essentially friction lining materials attached to a steel plate, these helps us to inhibit motion i.e to stop or slow down the car by converting the kinetic energy into heat as they rub against the rotor disk, the heat is then dissipated to the surrounding environment.
Conventionally, brake pads are made from asbestos because it is available at reasonable cost and has excellent mechanical properties which includes;
- High thermal resistivity
- Thermal stability of up to 500°C
- Low wear rate, among others
If this is true, why then do we need to kick it out?
Asbestos have been confirmed to be carcinogenic (able to cause cancer) and directly linked to diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma. This then puts factory workers, mechanics and even the drivers at risk as they could inhale dust particles generated from the use of such brake pads. It is worthy of note that even though the dangers associated with the use of asbestos is known, only about 60 countries have banned the use of asbestos with just 5 being African countries.
In the US, there was a ban on asbestos in 1989 but the ban was overruled in 1991 due to widespread complaints of the difficulty of finding asbestos replacements, meaning that existing uses of asbestos are still permitted, while new applications or uses of asbestos were banned. This opened doors of research into suitable materials for the replacement of asbestos in production composites, giving rise to Organic brake pads
What are organic brake pads?
Organic brake pads also known as non-asbestos organic brake pads are brake pads made from natural materials, fibres such as glass, jute, kevlar, rubber e.t.c. with resins that help bind them together and withstand high heat. The advantage of this is that it makes the brake pads safer, eco-friendly and biodegradable. It also provides channels for the use of agricultural waste. Organic brake pads however have some demerits which includes relatively high porosity and wear rate as compared to the conventional brake pads. To overcome these challenges, researchers investigated the optimization of organic brake pads by including some metallic element in the composites.
This is my first post on steemit and on organic brake pads, I hope you enjoyed it. Will write more about these brake pads soon, detailing their constituents, how they are made and round off with how I investigated the possibility of using Elephant grass for the production of organic brake pad.
- Chan D., Stachowiak G.W. (2003). Review of Automotive Brake Friction Materials. Proceedings of the Institute of Mechanical Engineering. Part D. Journal of Automobile Engineering. 218, 953–966. DOI: 10.1243/0954407041856773
- Mott, L. R. (2004). Machine Elements in Mechanical Design (4th ed). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, Pearson Prentice Hall
- Olumodeji, J. O. (2013). Assessment of Agricultural Waste for Production of Brake Pads. International Journal of Engineering Research & Technology, 2(11)
- How brake pads work by Jamie Page Deaton