Developed by innovators at NASA Marshall, the Periodic Wave Disc Brake Rotor offers improved performance for potential applications in racecars, motorcycles, and specifically, for electric vehicles (EVs) equipped with regenerative braking systems.

The periodic wave disc brake rotor offers improved performance for potential applications in racecars, motorcycles, and electric vehicles.

The periodic wave rotor technology is a suite of rotor designs that provides dramatic weight reduction along with high heat dissipation — two of the primary challenges associated with high-performance braking systems.

Increasing any vehicle’s racing performance involves decreasing the rotational moment of inertia and brake system weight, which allow the vehicle to accelerate faster, change direction better, and require less energy when doing all of the above. For racecars, reducing braking system weight is all about achieving better lap times. For any popular EVs, however, decreased electrical energy expenditure provides increased travel range.

The brake rotor is a novel yet simple and cost-effective design to maximize weight reduction and heat dissipation. This is accomplished through NASA’s proprietary concept of combining the forced convection, radiation, and conduction of airflow over the brake rotor’s surface. Depending upon the application, a dramatic reduction of the rotor material itself can be selected from either steel, oxygen-diffused titanium, or an aluminum forging alloy.

A two-piece floating rotor assembly is designed to further reduce the weight of the rotor’s mounting hub and its rotational moment of inertia, while simultaneously minimizing the rotor’s thermal expansion, stress, warping, or distortion experience during extreme frictional heating generated from repeated hard braking actions under high-speed racing conditions.

The rotor can be easily implemented into any existing vehicles with either hub-mounted or wheel rim-mounted brake systems.

NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. Please contact NASA’s Licensing Concierge at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us at 202-358-7432 to initiate licensing discussions. Follow this link here  for more information.


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This article first appeared in the August, 2021 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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