What Are the Best Friction Materials for Brake Lining?

No matter the industry, brake lining is essential to assure workers and products are kept safe. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration aims to identify workplace hazards and ensure safety is upheld.

It’s not difficult to see why maintaining your industrial brakes is essential. You want your brakes to do what they need to do: apply friction and slow down.

But what are the best materials for brake lining?

Keep reading for everything you need to know to choose the best friction material for your brakes.

What Is Brake Lining?

Brake lining is a layer of asbestos or a similarly-functioning material attached to a brake shoe which creates friction against the brake drum.

This friction eventually slows a machine down, allowing it to stop.

Different Types of Brake Lining

Generally, there are three different categories of friction materials used in brake lining. We’ll explain the three types and the different subcategories below.

1. Organic Brake Linings

Organic brake linings are constructed from organic fibers, pressurized, and held together by glue. For example, coconut shells or other plant-derived fibers may be used to build organic brake linings.

Within the category of organic brake linings are asbestos and non-asbestos materials. Passenger cars no longer use asbestos brake linings because of their correlation to cancer. However, some industries may still use this lining today.

Asbestos brake linings were popular because they’re heat resistant while providing insulation.

Non-asbestos linings are more popular today, containing brass fillings to help dissipate heat. Within the non-asbestos category are three other linings:

  • Semi-metallic: Containing up to 65% metallic content of brass, copper, iron, or steel. They are typically durable and inexpensive but can be loud.
  • Low-steel: Containing 10-20% steel content
  • Non-steel: Made of pulps, metallic fibers, or ceramic fibers. Ceramic brake linings are lightweight, durable, and silent, making them more coveted and expensive.

2. Metallic Brake Linings

These linings are made from sintered alloy, typically copper, brass, or steel. Sintered linings are created by fusing metallic particles using heat and pressure. This generates a product very resistant to friction.

3. Inorganic Brake Linings

These linings are C/C composites, made from carbon fiber. These linings are very thermally stable and lightweight, making them a popular choice for aircraft and race-cars.

Which Brake Pad Linings Are Right for my Company?

The right brake pad linings for your machine will depend on machine type, type of braking system, budget, wear and tear, and environmental conditions.

Clean, quiet, and expensive brake linings may not work best in harsh environmental conditions.

Powerful friction material may mean more brake dust is being generated, requiring more frequent cleanings to ensure longevity.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best friction material for industrial brake linings will depend on your budget, daily machine habits, and environmental conditions.

Be sure to take these factors into account when choosing the best brake lining for your machine.

For more articles on brakes and even industrial engineering materials, visit our blog today.

Posted in Industrial Brakes and Clutches.