By mixing carbon fibers into polymer-based brakes, researchers designed brakes that are self-lubricating. These new and improved brakes can prevent wear-and-tear and have better frictional properties than brakes currently on the market.

Researcher Mohammad Arjmand examines the new polymer-based brake pad for use in braking systems in cars and trains.

Brake pad materials are typically available in three categories: metallic, ceramic, and organic. All have benefits and weaknesses inherent to their design such as cost, durability, noise, slow response time, or increased temperature during usage.

According to statistics from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the failure of vehicle components accounts for nearly two percent of crashes; about 22 percent of vehicle component faults are caused by brake-related problems.

This work addressed composite breakdown during high temperatures, durability, friction, and wear testing. The new technology can lead to smaller brake pads that are more efficient and cost-effective since the small pads can withstand greater friction and temperatures.

Work will continue using nanomaterials mixed with polymers to develop multifunctional composites that can address issues such as friction, wear, and heat distribution at the molecular level.

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