Brake pads are more than a panel with a fixed friction lining

Brake pads are more than a panel with a fixed friction lining

Typically, those buying brake pads only look at the price of the product. After all, they are certain that the manufacturer of the pads has made all the checks, inspections and analyzes while adapting them to the model, and the price is only the result of the “manufacturer’s brand.” Well, wrong. Although you do “pay for the brand”, it is worth remembering that, despite their trivial design, brake pads are a rather complicated product and require long-term R&D testing.

“Simple design” only applies to the metal panel on which the abrasive layer is fixed. After all, it merely needs to remain stiff, maintain its shape, provide good positioning/holding of the pad in the yoke and its freedom of movement. The secret of the “quality of brake pads” lies in the friction layer and its sound attachment to the panel.

While choosing the mixture in the friction layer, the manufacturer must accept five (often conflicting) aspects of lining

1. Quiet operation upon applying pressure at the disc/pad interface
2. Low emission of dust generated by the pad/disc friction
3. Small and even wear of the friction pad
4. Correctness of operation at different temperatures
5. Minimum final price

We should explain the essence of the axioms of “good brake pads” because the buyer usually remembers only the two extremes: quiet operation and the product price.

Quiet operation upon applying pressure at the disc/pad interface

Silent operation is only ensured by thorough laboratory tests. It is assumed that there are two options of pad design. The first involves the use of a “soft pad”, which wears out quickly, but operates quietly as it absorbs vibrations. The other one is reversed and the “hard pads” wear out less, but the operation of the friction unit is louder. Manufacturers must find the golden mean between these requirements, and this can only be accomplished during lengthy laboratory tests. Not carrying out this work will always result in an issue.
One of such innovative technologies is the introduction – in all blocks offered by Master Sport – of the additional overlay between the pad and the cylinder. The overlay made of noise- and vibration-absorbing material prevents the pads from vibrating and reduces the overlap of vibration of the braking system components, perceived as a squeak when braking. This innovative Master-Sport solution is very simple, and does not increase the final price of the product.

Low emission of dust generated by the pad/disc friction

A large amount of dust resulting from disc/lining friction is a serious problem which the manufacturers must deal with. It is worth noting that studies carried out at Name of the University showed a significant emission of harmful substances near the school, where there were speed bumps (thus forcing braking of the vehicle). Although high-end manufacturers no longer add mercury, copper, cadmium, lead, chromium, brass or molybdenum in friction linings (prohibited by ECE R-90), these studies clearly showed such elements in the test site. It follows that while companies obtaining certificates from research centers and car manufacturers must comply with high standards (their products have a permanently stamped ECE R-90 symbol), the manufacturers of budget alternatives still go unpunished and distribute their products. Notably, the emission of dust is associated with the wear of the pad layer and the manufacturer must re-optimize the relationship between: a soft pad (higher emissions) and a hard one (lower emissions). So again – an important role is attributed to laboratory research, which many pseudo-manufacturers do not use (more on the laboratory work at Master Sport, see the text: Braking is not only discs and brake pads, or in the Master-Sport laboratory)

Small and even wear of the friction pad

Another factor that is taken into account by the manufacturer during the design stage is the wear of the friction linings which determines how quickly you need to buy a new set of pads. In this case, it is again necessary to reconcile the characteristics of a “soft pad“, which fits closely to the disc and slows down the movement (but is quickly worn and emits dust) and “hard pad“, which does not wear out so quickly, does not emit harmful particles from the lining, but quickly wears the brake disc, and the lack of vibration-absorbing from the disc results in louder work.

Correctness of operation at different temperatures

This is the most important factor distinguishing the professional manufacturers, who invest in research, from the “pseudo-manufacturers” focused only on profits garnered making cheap fakes.
After all, the development of special abrasive material in a laboratory is important, as is the manufacturing process, providing the braking performance at various temperatures. This is to eliminate the phenomenon of fading, or loss of braking force. Fading is produced by high temperature (when braking, the temperature on the pad/disc interface exceeds 500 degrees Celsius) as a result of gas generating from abrasive material due to physical change in the heated abrasive material. As a result, an “airbag” is formed at the disc/pad interface and (or) the structure of the material changes. This results in a decrease in the friction coefficient, hindering the effectiveness of the friction lining and proper deceleration of the vehicle. Reducing this adverse phenomenon is only possible through laboratory research on the selection of the proper ratio of ingredients in the linings, and the corresponding manufacture process (ensuring during the production stage that the temperature exceeds the operating temperature and the release of gases already during the manufacture of the product).
In laboratory studies of Master Sport, a special blend of abrasive layer was developed by adding bronze and ceramic components and using composite materials. This gives the Keramik pads – which use this technology – a greater resistance to the effects of high temperatures and allows them to reflect heat and cool down brakes faster.

Minimum final price

The most common way to get a lower final price is the procedure involving the use of lower quality abrasive materials, reducing (or often completely omitting) laboratory research, and simplifying the manufacture process to a minimum, and of course eliminating technological innovation as the most expensive investment in the process of product marketing. Only the best companies invest in the automation of manufacture processes in a way that allows reducing manufacture costs without affecting the product.