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For many of us, brake squeal is something that can really get on our nerves. You’re traveling along a busy thoroughfare, you hit the brake pedal and screech! Not only is it irritating, but also embarrassing, since on warmer days, motorists in other surrounding vehicles usually know that its you.
The thing is, brake squeal happens to be incredibly common and although is often associated with worn pads, can also afflict anchors that are in decent working order, since it is a by product of frequencies caused by vibration, which happens every time the pads touch the surface of the rotor.
And until now, there wasn’t really much of a cure for it. Well General Motors is hoping to address that and currently has a group of the companies engineers working on a solution to the problem. However, like much in the automotive universe, the idea isn’t actually a new invention at all.
The Coulomb friction damped disc brake (based on a damping mechanism design originally created by 18th century Physicist Charles Agustin de Coulomb), uses a thin ring of metal that’s actually embedded in the brake rotor, designed to absorb vibrations when the pads hit the rotor and thus significantly reduce squealing.
The new disc design follows on from corrosion resistance technology developed by GM and while still undergoing testing, could become available on certain cars and trucks in the General’s lineup within two to three years.
In addition, because the Coulomb design means engineers have to worry less about brake noise, it could, according to GM brake expert Jim Webster, allow engineers to develop future brake systems that use new materials with higher coefficients of friction. This would enable brake rotor designs that provide more powerful clamping force than those on the market today, but ones that would be smaller and lighter, thus increasing safety while enabling vehicle weight savings.
And given that automakers are looking every which way they can to shave vehicle mass in order to meet mandated higher fuel economy standards, such a concept as smaller brakes would no doubt be welcomed on that front too.
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