When you grasp the functionality of brake pads and identify the material best suited for a specific purpose. You can then select the suitable type of brake pads for your customer’s vehicle and driving needs. Continue reading this article to determine the difference between ceramic Brake Pads Vs. Semi-Metallic
Brake pads: what are they and what do they do?
The vehicle’s braking system relies on brake pads as a crucial element, enabling smooth and secure stops with consistent friction. In a disc braking system (distinct from a drum brake system), four key components are involved:
- Rotors (disc)
- Brake pads
- Disc brake calipers
During a braking event, all these components work together in synchronization to decelerate or halt a moving vehicle. The brake pads make contact with the rotor and generate friction or pressure, responding to the driver’s pedal inputs. This friction or pressure applied to the rotor diminishes its rotational speed, subsequently reducing the vehicle’s velocity.
What are brake pads made of?
In the past, brake pads were manufactured using asbestos, which was an efficient but extremely hazardous heat-absorbing material. However, with advancements in technology, modern brake pads now fall into three distinct categories
- Semi-metallic (metallic)
Brake pads classified as organic are composed of a blend of commonly used materials such as rubber, carbon, glass/fiberglass, and others. These are bonded together using resin. These brake pads are well-suited for regular driving conditions in non-performance vehicles and generate minimal heat during braking. They are commonly referred to as Non-Asbestos Organic (NAO) pads.
Semi-metallic brake pads, sometimes called “metallic” pads, consist of a composition containing metals such as copper, iron, steel, or other composites. These typically range from 30 to 70 percent. These pads are often supplemented with a graphite lubricant and other robust filler materials during manufacturing. Semi-metallic brake pads are versatile and can fulfill various purposes, ranging from regular everyday driving to high-performance track use.
Ceramic brake pads are composed of a resilient ceramic compound, typically reinforced with other materials to enhance friction application and heat control. In the past, ceramic brakes often incorporated copper threads to improve heat management and enhance friction performance characteristics. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated a reduction in copper content in brake pads, setting a requirement to limit copper content to 0.5 percent by weight by 2025.
Although ceramic brake pads are generally sold at a higher price point, they offer several advantages. They operate quietly, generate less dust as they wear, and exhibit consistent performance across a broader range of temperatures and driving conditions.
Semi Metallic Vs. Ceramic Brake Pads
The distinction between ceramic and semi-metallic brake pads lies in the specific materials used to manufacture each type.
When it comes to ceramic vs. semi-metallic brake pads for a vehicle, there are certain scenarios where each type offers distinct advantages.
For high-performance vehicles, track driving, or towing applications, many drivers prefer semi-metallic brake pads due to their superior braking performance across a wide range of temperatures and conditions. These pads are constructed using materials that conduct heat effectively, allowing them to endure higher temperatures during braking while aiding in cooling the system simultaneously. It’s worth noting that semi-metallic brake pads can be louder than ceramic pads, and their price point generally falls between organic and ceramic options.
Semi Metallic vs. Ceramic Brake Pads
Meanwhile, ceramic brake pads, despite being quieter, excel at handling high temperatures and recovering quickly, which results in less rotor damage. As they wear, ceramic brake pads produce finer dust particles compared to semi-metallic pads. This leads to reduced debris accumulation on the vehicle’s wheels. Additionally, ceramic brake pads tend to have a longer lifespan than semi-metallic pads and provide superior noise control while causing less rotor wear and tear. All this is done without compromising braking performance. However, it’s important to note that not all vehicle makes and models are compatible with ceramic brake pads. Therefore thorough research is recommended.
Understanding the functionality of brake pads and the suitability of different materials for various applications will enable you to select the right brake pads.