Brake lining was first invented in 1888 by Bertha Benz when she historically took the world’s first road trip, from Mannheim, Germany to Pforzheim, a distance of approximately 66 miles. The invention evolved slowly over time, with the first asbestos brake lining being officially developed in 1908 by Herbert Frood. Asbestos was chosen for this task because of its properties of heat resistance, fire resistance, electricity resistance, tensile strength and sound absorption. It was not until the early 1900s that scrutiny of the toxicity of asbestos began in earnest. The first official diagnosis of an asbestos-related death was recorded in 1924, though the fiber was not officially banned entirely until 2003. Today, brake linings of all shapes, sizes and material compositions are used for innumerable mechanical braking systems, including those in bicycles, trucks, cars, tractors and other farming equipment, elevator safety brakes and even the spindle brakes found inside VCRs.
Quick links to Brake Lining Information
Materials Used in Brake Lining
Brake lining is a component of braking mechanism systems. Made up of friction causing materials known more concisely as friction materials, brake lining contributes to reduction or stoppage of motion in vehicles and moving machinery. Brake lining, also known as brake pads and similar to brake bands and brake blocks, offer a barrier between components like brake shoes and rotors. They boost their friction levels and slow down their contact, all the while extending the system’s life by not letting the components wear down too quickly. In essence, they provide a buffer zone. Thus, brake pads are integral to the maintained health of braking systems.
Design of Brake Lining
The materials from which brake linings are composed are adhered to a metal or ceramic backing, like the brake shoe, by heat resistant joints, heat resistant rivets or advanced adhesives. Also, because the kinetic energy used during the braking process is converted into heat energy, brake lining material always has a high coefficient of friction. The materials from which the materials are made must be, in addition to being rough or textured (friction materials), durable and able to withstand extreme pressure and high levels of heat. The variety of friction materials manufacturers may use to make brake lining include: aramid fibers, carbon composites, cellulose mineral fibers, ceramics, chopped glass, copper fibers, steel fibers and a variety of semi-metallic and non-metallic materials. Manufacturers may mix friction materials with unique compositions and thicknesses, though they typically work with standardized compositions.
Originally, friction materials were mostly made from asbestos fibers, but today that is not the case, due to the health risks associated with prolonged exposure to asbestos, such as the development of lung cancer, various lung diseases or mesothelioma. Some linings are made from harder brake materials, but this is only a good idea if the drums or clutch discs associated with a particular lining are equally strong and of a high quality. If they are not, they can easily suffer wear and tear at an accelerated rate. Sometimes, soft, light brake linings are more appropriate. No matter the exact nature of the lining that imparts it, the presence of friction is essential to all braking systems; it is the mechanism that allows engines and machinery to slow down and speed up efficiently.
To keep the braking system associated with your brake lining, whether that be an elevator, tractor, car or any other machine or vehicle, it is of the utmost importance that you pay attention to a few different things.
Things to Consider When Choosing Brake Lining
First, if your brakes begin to squeak or become noticeably less smooth, it is important to take them in to get looked at, or service them yourself. This is because both of the aforementioned brake behaviors are signs that your brake lining is likely wearing out. If you do not address worn brake lining, it will likely become a larger problem, causing damage to either the brake plate, the spinning element or both. Damage like this is much more expensive to fix than a worn brake lining. In addition, if your system is equipped with multiple brake linings, it is advised that you replace all of the related linings at the same time. This action helps keep your maintenance schedule and the state of your braking system even and well regimented. Another problem to watch out for is the contamination of your brake lining leaked brake fluid or oil. The most common symptom of this problem is brake chatter, a sound created when the pads vibrate and, simultaneously, the lining grabs and lets go of the rotor’s surface. This issue can be remedied by replacing the damaged pads and fixing the leak or other source of contamination.