Thermo-elastic and thermo-plastic behaviour takes place with a disc brake during heavy braking and it is this aspect of braking that this paper considers. The work is concerned with working towards developing design advice that provides uniform heating of the disc, and equally important, even dissipation of heat from the disc blade.
The material presented emanates from a combination of modeling, on-vehicle testing but mainly laboratory observations and subsequent investigations. The experimental work makes use of a purpose built high speed brake dynamometer which incorporates the full vehicle suspension for controlled simulation of the brake and vehicle operating conditions. Advanced instrumentation allows dynamic measurement of brake pressure fluctuations, disc surface temperature and discrete vibration measurements. Disc run-out measurements using non-contacting displacement transducers show the disc taking up varying orders of deformation ranging from first to third order during high speed testing. This surface interrogation during braking identifies disc deformation including disc warping, “ripple” and the effects of “hot spotting”. The mechanical measurements are complemented by thermal imaging of the brake, these images showing the vane and vent patterns on the surface of the disc. The results also include static surface scanning, or topographical analysis, of the disc which is carried out at appropriate stages during testing. The work includes stress relieving of finished discs and subsequent dynamometer testing. This identifies that in-service stress relieving, due to high heat input during braking, is a strong possibility for the cause of disc “warping”. It is also seen that an elastic wave is established during a braking event, the disc returning to its original form on release of the brake.