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Methods for Sizing Brake Pads for High Performance Brakes

Published September 27, 2015 by SAE International in United States
Methods for Sizing Brake Pads for High Performance Brakes
Citation: Antanaitis, D., "Methods for Sizing Brake Pads for High Performance Brakes," SAE Int. J. Mater. Manf. 9(1):171-180, 2016,
Language: English


An aspect of high performance brake design that has remained strikingly empirical is that of determining the correct sizing of the brake pad - in terms of both area and volume - to match well with a high performance vehicle application. Too small of a pad risks issues with fade and wear life on the track, and too large has significant penalties in cost, mass, and packaging space of the caliper, along with difficulties in maintaining adequate caliper stiffness and its impact on pedal feel and response time.
As most who have spent time around high performance brakes can attest to, there methods for determining minimum brake pad area, usually related in some form or another to the peak power the brake must absorb (functions of vehicle mass and top speed are common). However, the basis for these metrics are often lost (or closely guarded), and provide very little guidance for the effects of the final design (pad area) deviating from the recommended value.
This paper proposes methods, justified with dynamometer and vehicle test data, to determine brake pad area (based on considerations for fade performance), and brake pad volume (based on considerations for wear life), for high performance brake systems designed for high speed, closed loop race track operation. The methodologies are geared towards “high performance street” friction materials.