Innovations boost stopping power01 October 2007
A flurry of new brake calliper designs should enliven the world of chassis system developers as they consider their options for new vehicle platforms, writes Roger Bishop.
Following the launch of its twin-sliding calliper brake last year Continental Automotive Systems has now added a fixed calliper design to its range and an electric-hydraulic combi brake (EHC). TRW Automotive, meanwhile, has developed what it calls thin wide bridge calliper (TWB) technology that is lighter but offers increased brake life.
Conti’s twin-sliding calliper brake has two divided pairs of brake pads that are arranged in a V shape. The pads are therefore perfectly aligned with the disc at all times and are larger in total area than those on standard brakes. This improves stopping as well as thermal reserves.
EHC combines hydraulic wheel brakes on the front axle with electromechanical wheel brakes on the rear. The resulting fast actuation of the rear wheel brakes makes it possible to dynamically vary the brake force between the axles. This optimises brake force distribution during all kinds of braking manoeuvres, says Conti, whether with a low or high load or when pulling a trailer. It also improves directional stability and road adhesion.
With its thin wide bridge design TRW’s calliper has a bridge thickness that is reduced by 45% in comparison with a conventional design while the width is increased by 40%. The decrease in bridge thickness allows for an increase in piston effective radius which, when combined with larger pads and rotors, can equate to a significant increase in brake torque output.
“Weight savings and enhanced performance were the primary objectives that led to the re-engineering of conventional brake parts to create highly mass-efficient structures for disc brake calliper housings,” says Josef Pickenhahn, vice president, braking engineering at TRW.
TWB housings also accommodate larger diameter rotors and friction pad areas which tend to reduce rotor-running temperatures, brake fade and pad wear, according to Pickenhahn. Combined with larger rotors, this also results in increased brake torque output.
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