Big Brake Kit
Learning About Brake Systems

A brake is a mechanical device that slows down a moving system by absorbing energy.

It is used to slow or stop a moving vehicle, wheel, or axle, or to keep it from moving, most commonly by friction.

Core Components

1) Caliper

Although high performance brakes use as many as twelve hydraulically actuated pistons within a cylinder, the most typical factory caliper design uses a single hydraulically activated piston within a cylinder. As a safety measure, modern cars use separate hydraulic circuits to operate the brakes on each pair of wheels. The hydraulic system also aids in the multiplication of braking force.

The number of pistons in a caliper is sometimes referred to as the number of 'pots,' therefore a vehicle with'six pot' calipers has six pistons in each caliper.

Brake failure can occur when the piston fails to retract, which is usually the result of not using the vehicle for an extended period of time or due to high mileage.

2) Rotors

The brake disc (or rotor) for which the brake pads are used is the rotating part of the wheel's disc frequency brake mount. Typically, the material is gray iron, a cast iron form. The discs are somewhat different in design. Some are just solid, but others are fine-cut or vanes that unite the two contact surfaces of the disk (usually included as part of a casting process). The vehicle's weight and power determine how ventilated discs are needed. The "ventilated" disk design helps dissipate the generated heat and is used in the front disks that are heavily loaded.

Motorcycle discs, bicycles and many cars frequently have disks cut through holes or slots.

This is for improving heat dissipation, helping disperse surface waters, noise reduction, mass reduction or cosmetics marketing.

Slotted discs are machined in a disc with superficial channels to help remove dust and gas. Slotting is the best way to remove water and gas and deglaze brake pads in most racing environments. Certain disks are both perforated and slotted. Standard vehicles generally have no Slotted Disks, since they use brake pads quickly; however, such removal is advantageous for race vehicles, since the pads are soft and the surfaces avoid vitrification.

This is for improving heat dissipation, helping disperse surface waters, noise reduction, mass reduction or cosmetics marketing.

Slotted discs are machined in a disc with superficial channels to help remove dust and gas. Slotting is the best way to remove water and gas and deglaze brake pads in most racing environments. Certain disks are both perforated and slotted. Standard vehicles generally have no Slotted Disks, since they use brake pads quickly; however, such removal is advantageous for race vehicles, since the pads are soft and the surfaces avoid vitrification.


The outside disk ring or rotor is generally made of grey iron but can be made of steel in special applications. Motorsport originated but now commonly used in high-performance and aftermarket upgrades. Two piece disks can be delivered as a fixed assembly with regular nozzles, bolts and lavatories or a more complicated floating system where drive bobbles allow expanding and contracting of two parts of a brake disc at varying rates, thus reducing the risk of overheat. The major benefits of a double-part disk are a critical unjumping savings and heat dissipation from the disk surface by the alloy bell (hat).


The disadvantages and advantages of both fixed and floating options are floated disks that are likely to rattle and collect waste and best for motorsports whereas fixed discs are best suited for road use.

3) Brake Pads

Both fixed and floating discs have advantages and disadvantages. Floating discs are prone to rattle and debris collecting and are better suited to Motorsport, whilst fixed discs are most suited to robbing. Brake pads are made for high friction, with the brake pad material lodged in the disc during the bedding process to provide even wear. Friction is separated into two categories. Adhesive and abrasive are the two types.

Pad and disc wear rates vary greatly depending on the material qualities of both the pad and the disc, as well as the configuration and usage. There are trade-offs between performance and lifespan when it comes to the qualities that govern material wear.

 

Brake pads must be replaced on a regular basis (depending on pad material and driving style), and some are equipped with a mechanism that alerts drivers that replacement is required, such as a thin piece of soft metal that rubs against the disc when the pads are too thin, causing the brakes to squeal, or a soft metal tab embedded in the pad material that closes an electric circuit and illuminates a warning light.

For best performance, road-going vehicles typically have two brake pads per caliper, although racing calipers might have up to six, with differing frictional qualities staggered in a staggered pattern.

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