Mr. Asmawi Sanuddin, University of Leeds, UNITED KINGDOM
Prof. David Barton, University of Leeds, UNITED KINGDOM
Dr. Peter Brooks, University of Leeds, UNITED KINGDOM
Dr. Carl Gilkeson, University of Leeds, UNITED KINGDOM
Dr. Shahriar Kosarieh, University of Leeds, UNITED KINGDOM
Prof. Suman Shrestha, Keronite International Ltd, UNITED KINGDOM
Lightweight disc brake rotors have become a popular alternative to conventional grey cast iron (GCI). The thermal and tribological response of these brake rotors will differ during a braking operation. This may result in the generation of particulate wear debris with different characteristics, which can affect the environment and human health to different degrees. Studies have shown a relationship between adverse health effects and the characteristics of airborne particulate matter such as particle size, concentration and chemical composition. In this study, the particulate matter released from a novel lightweight disc brake rotor is compared to that released from the conventional grey cast iron rotor. The lightweight brake rotor was made of aluminium alloy (Al6082) and its rubbing surfaces were treated using the Plasma Electrolytic Oxidation (PEO) process. The process produced hard, dense, wear-resistant and well-adhered alumina coatings of approximate thickness 50 microns.
A novel test rig was developed based upon the existing Leeds full-scale disc brake dynamometer. An enclosure was constructed around the brake assembly and ducting was carefully designed to ensure the cleanliness of the intake air to the system. Both brake rotors were tested under drag-braking conditions of constant sliding speed and applied braking pressure. Three braking test conditions with hydraulic pressures of 5, 10 and 15 bar at a constant speed of 135 rpm were selected from initial brake dynamometer tests. Braking test parameters of rotor rubbing surface temperature and coefficient of friction were measured during the tests and their effect on the brake wear particle characteristics were investigated. To measure and collect airborne brake wear particles, the Dekati ELPI+ unit was utilised along with a custom-made probe. This probe was made of stainless steel and its geometry was tailored to comply with the isokinetic concept. A scanning electron microscope (SEM) equipped with an energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) system was utilised to investigate the morphology and chemical composition of the airborne brake wear particles collected by the Dekati unit.
The initial comparison results showed that the PEO-treated lightweight aluminium alloy (PEO-Al) rotor has the potential not only to significantly reduce the unsprung mass of the vehicle but also reduce particulate matter emissions compared with the standard GCI rotor. The results also revealed that the percentage of iron contained in the PEO-Al debris was about threefold lower than that from the GCI rotor under all steady-state drag braking conditions studied which may have important health implications.