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Eco-friction brings greener braking™

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Ferodo®has developed a range of zero-copper and low-copper brake pad formulations using a new tribological fingerprinting process. As companies around the world work to introduce alternative materials ahead of legal deadlines, Ferodo Eco-Friction™ is already achieving excellent results.

Copper is a key ingredient in high performance brake pad formulations, limiting pad and rotor wear, noise and judder and contributing to friction stability. The metal makes up 5 to 20 percent of the friction material mass in typical Non-Asbestos Organic (NAO) and Low-Steel formulations used in North America, Asia and Europe. The presence of copper in brake pads, however, will be regulated and may eventually be eliminated due to concerns over its environmental impact.

Ferodo®'s tribological fingerprinting process has enabled its R&D teams to develop datasets for each of the raw materials that make up a brake pad. Based on this knowledge, the company screened 1,500 raw materials and identified alternative materials with the same wear and friction pattern across the same temperature range.

Developing these comprehensive datasets means Ferodo®can create higher-performance brake materials with shorter development times. The company is now able to replace a material with very high functionality, such as copper, in considerably less time than competitors.

There is no single material that can replace copper. Brake pads are a formulation of 20 to 30 different materials, each with different functions. The Ferodo Eco-Friction™ range uses a variety of metal sulphides, minerals, abrasives, fibres, ceramic particles and types of graphite to achieve the same wear and friction characteristics as pads with copper.

Legislation in certain states of the U.S. requires the phase-out of copper from brake pads, initially limiting copper content to less than 5% of total pad weight and eventually requiring levels of less than 0.5%. Vehicle makers are now specifying brake systems with the regulated levels of copper, making an alternative formulation the standard for future vehicles in many markets. Ferodo®has already secured new customer contracts for low-copper and zero-copper Eco-Friction™ brake pads for vehicle platforms in North America and Europe.

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