Experimental Study of Automotive Brake System Temperatures

Modern automotive disk brake systems can generate extremely high temperatures under high but short duration braking loads or under relatively light but continuous braking. One consequence of the high disk and pad temperatures is a gradual heating of the brake hydraulic fluid, which can lead to boiling of absorbed water and loss of braking.

This paper describes an experiment in which fluid and braking system temperatures, pressures, and operating conditions (vehicle speed, braking energy dissipation) were measured in three different classes of operating vehicles during brake application and subsequent brake release. Brake failure was observed and correlated to moisture content of the fluid, severity of brake application, and application time. In addition, a finite element and lumped capacity analysis of the system was conducted. The analytically predicted temperature histories agreed well with the measured temperatures and can be used to estimate the time at which the fluid will boil.

Publication Date: 
Tuesday, July 1, 1997
Publication Number: 
WA-RD 434.1
Last modified: 
10/12/2016 - 15:42
Ashley F. Emery, P. Kumar, Joseph C. Firey.
Washington State Transportation Center (TRAC)
Number of Pages: 
Brake fluids, Brakes, Disc brakes, Experiments, Failure, Finite element method, Injury severity, Moisture content, Temperature, Time duration.