Trident™ Thermal Conductivity Application Highlight: Thermal Conductivity Testing of Brake Pads with TPS

The following Application Highlight covers the testing of brake pads using C-Therm’s FLEX TPS method.  The document provides user information related to typical brake pad materials and their relation to thermal conductivity.  

In its simplest form, brakes work by converting the kinetic energy of your vehicles motion to heat through friction and subsequently dissipating that generated heat. This is accomplished through the contact made by the brake pads as they are forced against the rotors while braking. As such, the material of the brake pads plays a key role in overall performance.  

Figure 1. Semi-Metallic (left) and Ceramic(right) brake pads.

Brake pads were traditionally made from pure metals due to their high thermal conductivities resulting in their ability to resist thermal stress and dissipate generated heat. Unfortunately, metal-based components can carry a significant weight and in-turn lower overall efficiency. Today, most brake pads have since been replaced by semi-metallic, ceramic, or organic based composites to overcome the drawbacks of pure metals. A brief overview of the various brake pad types can be seen in Table 1, below. 

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