Jens Wahlström (KTH)

Published: 23 December 2009

Towards a simulation methodology for prediction of airborne wear particles from disc brakes

During braking, both the rotor and the pads in disc brakes are worn. Since disc brakes are not sealed, some of the wear particles generated can become airborne. Several studies have found an association between adverse health effects and the concentration of particles in the atmosphere, so it is of interest to improve our knowledge of the airborne wear particles generated by disc brakes. However, in field tests it is difficult to distinguish these particles from others in the surrounding environment, so it may be preferable to use laboratory test stands and/or simulation models to study the amount of airborne wear particles generated.

This thesis deals with a simulation methodology for prediction of airborne wear particles from disc brakes and three experimental methods for testing disc brake materials with focus on airborne wear particles. The four appended papers discuss the possibility to both measure and predict the number and size distribution of airborne wear particles that originate from the pad to rotor contact. The objective is to develop a simulation methodology that predicts the number and size distribution of airborne wear particles from disc brakes.

Paper A describes how a modified pin-on-disc machine was used to study airborne wear particles originating from different disc brake materials. The results indicate that the test setup can be used to measure and rank the number concentration and size distribution of the airborne wear particles generated.

Paper B describes a disc brake assembly test stand for measurements of airborne wear particles from disc brakes. The results indicate that the test setup can be used to measure the number concentration and size distribution of airborne wear particles generated from disc brake materials. The results also indicate a promising ability to rank different pad/rotor material combinations with respect to the number concentration of airborne wear particles.

Paper C compares measurements made in passenger car field tests with measurements made in a disc brake assembly test stand and in a pin-on-disc machine. A promising correlation between the three different test methods is found.

Paper D presents a simulation methodology for predicting the number and size distribution of airborne wear particles using finite element analysis (FEA). The simulated number distribution is compared with experimental measurements at component level. The result indicates that the proposed methodology may be used to predict the number concentration and size distribution of airborne particles generated in the pad-to-rotor contact.

Read the thesis