Automotive Carbon Ceramic Brakes have become an increasingly popular option on high-performance vehicles in recent years. With their immense strength, resilience and ability to withstand extreme heat, Automotive Carbon Ceramic Brakes offer superior braking performance compared to conventional brake materials. In this article, we explore the technology behind Automotive Carbon Ceramic Brakes and assess their advantages over conventional brakes.
At the core of Automotive Carbon Ceramic Brakes are the discs, made from Carbon-Carbon (C/C) composite material or Carbon Fiber Reinforced Silicon Carbide (C/SiC). Both materials are engineered to be significantly stronger and lighter than conventional cast iron or alloy brake discs.
C/C brake discs use carbon fiber cloth saturated with carbon as the basic material. The carbon fiber provides strength and structure while the carbon matrix holds everything together. C/C brake discs can withstand temperatures up to 3000°F without deterioration.
C/SiC discs use a silicon carbide matrix to infiltrate between carbon fibers, offering even higher temperature capabilities up to 3600°F. The silicon carbide resists oxidation better than pure carbon. Both C/C and C/SiC materials make the discs exceptionally heat resistant while maintaining an extremely low mass.
The immense heat resistance of carbon ceramic brake discs means they do not deteriorate under extreme braking like conventional discs which can warp or fail at high temperatures. Automotive Carbon Ceramic Brakes also stay cooler during regular driving due to their higher thermal conductivity which transfers heat away efficiently.
Thanks to the light weight and resistance to fade at high temperatures, Automotive Carbon Ceramic Brakes can deliver prodigious braking force lap after lap without loss of performance. Some studies have shown they can bring a car to a stop from 100 km/h up to 16 feet shorter than equivalent vehicle fitted with conventional brakes.
While more expensive initially, carbon ceramic brake discs have significantly longer usable life than conventional alternatives. Tests have shown some carbon ceramic brake discs can last over 30,000 miles with the original set of brake pads, far surpassing a typical service life of 15,000-20,000 miles for regular brake discs.
The extra durability offsets the high initial costs of carbon ceramic components over time through reduced maintenance. There is also less brake dust generated which keeps the wheels cleaner for longer between cleaning. Overall lifecycle costs of Automotive Carbon Ceramic Brakes can work out comparable or even less than regular brakes with their higher replacement frequency factored in.
Application in road cars
Leading sports and luxury car brands including Porsche, Ferrari, McLaren, Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Bentley now offer Automotive Carbon Ceramic Brakes as factory or dealer-fit options. Porsche was an early pioneer, introducing Automotive Carbon Ceramic Brakes on the 911 GT2 in 2004. Automotive Carbon Ceramic Brakes are now commonly found on high-performance models like supercars and super sports cars.
Some mass market brands are also introducing Automotive Carbon Ceramic Brakes on select performance trim levels. The BMW M and AMG Mercedes model ranges increasingly feature Automotive Carbon Ceramic Brakes as standard or optional fitment. Having proven their strength and endurance credentials on track, Automotive Carbon Ceramic Brakes are transitioning into premium road cars for their combination of excellent braking and reduced maintenance costs over time.
On track, Automotive Carbon Ceramic Brakes truly excel thanks to their ability to maintain consistent braking performance lap after lap in punishing conditions. The immense heat resistance prevents brake fade even under heavy braking from high speeds. This translates to more confidence and control for drivers pushing their cars to the limit.
Racing teams in Formula 1, LMP1, GT racing and other series almost exclusively use Automotive Carbon Ceramic Brakes for their incredible strength, fade resistance and lightweight properties. Some reports indicate racing-spec carbon ceramic brake discs can withstand braking forces over 10 tonnes and temperatures nearing 4000°F during competition.
Mass production of reliable carbon ceramic parts presents unique technical challenges compared to conventional brake materials. Manufacturers must control the carbon and silicon infiltration process precisely for defect-free products. Carbon fibers must also be perfectly aligned during layup to achieve the required rigidity and strength characteristics.
Overall production volumes are still relatively low compared to traditional brake discs due to the complex manufacturing and higher costs involved. However, as demand increases and production methods mature, Automotive Carbon Ceramic Brakes are becoming more affordable and widely available. With ongoing technology advances, they may one day become a mainstream high-performance braking solution.
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