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Understanding Performance Brake Components

There is a need for performance brake modifications or brake components with a high-performance look. Over the last decade, there has been a significant increase in intellectual property theft in the braking industry. Instead of imitating the newest movie, software, or gadget, some Chinese businesse


There is a need for performance brake modifications or brake components with a high-performance look.
Over the last decade, there has been a significant increase in intellectual property theft in the braking industry.

Instead of imitating the newest movie, software, or gadget, some Chinese businesses have developed calliper covers that transform a standard single- or dual-piston floating calliper into a six- or eight-piston racing calliper. While it is one of the most ridiculous changes an owner can make, it does show that there is a desire for performance brake improvements or, at the very least, brake components with a high-performance look. Find the best brakes shop

What is Performance?

Any engineer will tell you that designing a braking system for the street is more difficult than designing one for the racetrack. On the track, the objective is to come to a complete stop — right now. Noise, efficiency, and producing enough stopping power for certain conditions specified by federal regulations must all be addressed while using street brakes.

The fundamental function of any braking system is to use friction to convert forward kinetic energy into thermal energy. What distinguishes a high-performance braking system from a standard system is how friction levels and heat are controlled.

When OEMs design a braking system, they must follow strict Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) testing methods. The most difficult braking test is a V-max test, which includes speeding to a vehicle’s peak speed (V-max) and stopping within a given distance. The other difficult FMVSS demands 10 consecutive stops from 30 mph. The temperature of the brake pads is measured in both tests.

High-performance “street” braking systems must meet, if not surpass, the same test standards.

Because of the many sorts of racing environments, racing braking systems might vary. Drag racers must make a single high-speed stop using cold brakes. Circle track vehicles may have to stop twice every lap for 20 laps or more. Road racing cars may need to utilise the brakes 7-20 times every lap.

The size of the rotor, calliper design, and friction material formulation are all dictated by the varied performance requirements for both street and racing cars. The tyres, however, are the limiting element for all brakes. You could put rotors the size of garbage can lids and high-friction brake pads, but if the tyres don’t have traction, the wheels would lock, leading the driver to lose control.

Almost every high-performance brake component improves the appearance of a vehicle’s brakes. These aesthetic upgrades are necessary since late-model automobiles and trucks no longer utilise stamped steel wheels, and the brakes can be seen through the spokes of the wheels.

Friction Materials

When the NHRA Top Fuel classes converted to carbon fibre brakes in the early 2000s, numerous incidents were blamed on the drivers’ lack of familiarity with the new pads and rotors. Cast iron brakes and their capacity to produce friction when the pedal was initially applied were well known to drivers.

Carbon fibre brakes had a lower rotational mass and were less likely to fail catastrophically due to heat shock. However, carbon fibre brakes did not begin to generate substantial friction levels until they were heated. When many drivers initially engaged the brakes, they believed it was a hydraulic breakdown and began to pump them rapidly in the shutdown area.

The same thing may happen to street-driven automobiles if the brake pads are changed with a “race only” or too aggressive friction compound that requires heat to function. Many street performance pads include the ability to balance friction levels, ensuring that the driver is not caught off guard by cold brakes.

Most people think of semi-metallic brake pads when they think about performance brakes. Metal fibres offer structure and friction in semi-metallic friction materials. Steel, copper, and other metals are commonly utilised. Semi-metal friction materials produce friction by using the abrasive properties of the metals in the pad and rotor. On an atomic level, the atoms and molecules of the pad and rotor are tearing their bonds to generate heat, while mechanical forces are applied to create friction. This condition causes the rotor and brake pad to wear at different rates.

In some street situations, a non-asbestos organic or ceramic formulation performance pad may be the best choice for a customer’s daily car when the visual look of the brakes is more essential than late braking capability. Adherent (adhesive) friction is used in these friction materials, in which the pad seasons or transfers a layer of material to the rotor. The transfer layer is replenished as the brakes are applied. If the driver is concerned about brake dust, the layer can reduce rotor wear and even reduce brake dust.


The heat energy created by friction is absorbed and dissipated by a brake rotor. The efficiency and capacity of the brakes are determined by how effectively the rotor absorbs and then releases energy into the surrounding air.

The rotor’s design influences how well it can withstand heat. The thickness of the plates and how effectively air flows through the vanes on vented rotors aid in heat transmission to the surrounding air. Curved vane patterns on certain vented rotors aid in pulling air through the centre of the rotor and acting as a pump. Curved vanes must be positioned on the hub in the proper direction for them to function, much as a directional tyre must be mounted on the correct wheel.

Slots carved into the rotor’s face serve two purposes. For starters, they provide leading edges to improve the pad’s initial bite. Second, each groove serves as a conduit for the gases produced by the pad. If the slots get clogged with pad material, the braking system is overheating. To prevent tension in the rotor, slots are radiused when machined. Most slotted rotor manufacturers will not cut the gap all the way to the rotor’s edges since doing so would damage the rotor’s strength.

Drilled holes in the rotor can give an additional channel for gases to escape from the pads and aid with the first bite of the pad. In some situations, the perforations can reduce rotor weight while also improving cooling. However, the perforations are designed in such a way that the framework of the rotor are not jeopardised. Cracks can occur if there are too many holes or holes near vanes. In addition, the hole should be chamfered to avoid generating a stress riser, which might lead to a fracture.

The ability of a brake rotor to create braking force or torque is determined by its size. The best example is to try turning a steering wheel with an inside spoke and then with the outside wheel part. The longer your hand extends, the easier it is to spin the wheel.

Two-piece rotors, which are seen on some vehicles and in “big brake” packages, offer two benefits. Two-piece rotors, for starters, minimise rotational and unsprung mass. Second, the metal cap works as a heat dam, preventing heat from being transmitted to the hub, bearings, and knuckle.

The most notable rotor trend is the use of slots, holes, and finishes on the hat and vanes to improve the aesthetics of the brake system.


For any brake pad to be completely effective on the street or track, the calliper must be able to uniformly distribute hydraulic power to the pads. To do this, the calliper must be able to float on the slides/brackets and/or the pistons must be free to move in the bores.

Fixed performance callipers with four, six, or even eight pistons increase braking performance by expanding the effective area of the brake pads. The hydraulic pressure from the master cylinder may be transferred more equally to the backing plate and friction material with additional pistons.

New callipers can also improve the braking system’s aesthetics. Many luxury brake calliper lines feature high-quality coating, plating procedures, and finishes on the calliper to ensure it looks fantastic behind the wheel.