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Dynamic Vehicle Weight Reduction and Safety Enhancement

Journal Article
ISSN: 1946-3995, e-ISSN: 1946-4002
Published October 12, 2008 by SAE International in United States
Dynamic Vehicle Weight Reduction and Safety Enhancement
Citation: Strom, P., "Dynamic Vehicle Weight Reduction and Safety Enhancement," SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Syst. 1(1):1202-1207, 2009,
Language: English


The rising cost of fuel, global warming and the economy in general has increased awareness about the importance of vehicle weight as it relates to consumer cost savings at the gas pump. However, vehicle safety cannot be compromised at the expense of reduced weight, making it necessary to find a proper balance to satisfy all requirements. The Ultra brake rotor reduces weight by as much as 40% for each wheel which translates to significant improvements as defined by CAFE regulations. Fully compatible with original calipers and other wheel components, these rotors additionally provide enhanced vehicle reliability and performance. Independent laboratory tests demonstrate compliance to FMVSS 135, and a 40% increase in rotor and brake pad wear life. Weight reduction is achieved by casting an aluminum core structure around steel wear inserts to form a strong mechanical bond. The 2007 GM Yukon front rotor cast from traditional grey iron steel weighs 26 pounds, while an equivalent Ultra brake rotor part contains 8 pounds of steel and 9 pounds of aluminum for a total weight of 17 pounds. Since aluminum has thermal conductivity properties superior to that of grey iron steel, performance improvements result from expected operation as friction heat is rapidly transferred from the steel inserts into the aluminum and then dissipated to air.
This paper details the test results to support 20 - 30% longer pad life, less rotor wear, with 40% reduction in weight when compared to conventional steel rotors.