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Brake pads are a critical part of a vehicle’s overall braking system. With the broad diversity of available brake pad types, sub-types and unique chemistries there is an open question as to which brake pad provides the best overall performance.

First, not all brake pads are created equal. A brake pad that works well in busy city traffic isn’t suitable for performance racetrack driving. Similarly, a dedicated pad for off-road, heavy-duty work won’t meet the sociability needs of a quiet neighborhood. The one consistent fact is that brake pad chemistries are evolving rapidly and improving across all fronts. Much of this evolution is driven by advances in materials characterization techniques such as Scanning Electron Microscopy coupled with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (SEM-EDS).

Even within a single pad type, the specific chemistry of that pad has a significant impact on the performance. A major challenge in manufacturing automotive brake pads/shoes is controlling the ingredients and distribution of these components. Reproducibility of the formulation and the distribution of the raw materials is the key to obtaining good quality control of the final product. SEM-EDS analysis and statistical approach was used to determine the distribution and phases of the components of brake pads.

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