Investigation of Brake Wear Particles


24 September 2012

Over the last years, brake dust has become a topic in different fields. The first research to brake dust after the abolishment of asbestos was done to understand the staining of the wheel. Since then, several attempts were made to understand the synthesis, composition and distribution of brake dust because of the growing awareness of environmental and health effects, for example with antimony and copper in the brake pads. The published measurements for the number and size of brake particles vary widely.[1-5] This is mainly because of the complex and susceptible characteristics of a brake system and the limited resolution of many measurement systems. With every change in temperature, braking speed, braking pressure, pad formulation, brake type and history of the friction partner, differences in the properties of brake dust particles will be recognizable. One approach to measure the size of the particles is to analyze a sample of collected brake dust in a scanning electron microscope. The handicap of this method is the characteristic of the debris to agglomerate and to deposit dependent on the particle size. A precise analysis of airborne particulate matter requires a more complex methodology which is known from the combustion engine particle measurement. HORIBA offers equipment to detect the particle size from ~2 nm up to 600 nm, for example the MEXA-2100SPCS*1 with a DMA*2 3081 classifier and a CPC*3 3776.

*1: Solid Particle Counter System
*2: Differential Mobility Analyzer
*3: Condensation Particle Counter


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