Friction Material: What Are Brake Shoes?

Machinery deaths average above 750 deaths a year. Brake shoes are an important part of the safety of many industrial machines, so you can do your part to help lower these statistics by learning about them.

Brake shoes are essential components in many mechanical pieces of equipment used in industrial services. Some of the industries they impact include automotive, agriculture, iron and steel, mining, and rail. In addition, they’re widely used in hoists in these industries and elevators throughout many other sectors.

These parts can wear down over time and should be replaced as soon as possible to ensure the proper working of the equipment. Read on to learn more about brake shoes and how they impact your industry.

What Is a Friction Material?

Brake friction material consists of composites of several different materials that exist as layers used to control the speed of the mechanism they are a part of. These can decelerate the mechanism or bring it to a complete stop. 

Brake pads and linings are usually a mix of 10 to 20 different kinds of raw materials. Choosing the right blend of materials for the suitable condition is complicated by many specialized individual machine needs.

The Blend of Friction Materials

Depending on the specific brake shoe and its usage, the blend of the raw materials can vary. The types of raw materials used can be divided into three types:


This material provides more intensity to the friction material. These can consist of inorganic and organic fibers such as metal and aramid fibers.

Bonding Agent 

The bonding agent hardens raw materials and provides the bonding capability to the materials used in the brake shoes. Usually, phenol resins are the bonding agents in brake shoes.

Friction Adjustment Material 

This material adjusts the friction materials used to make the brake shoes. This allows you to strengthen the stabilization and the effectiveness of the performance of the brake shoes. A mix of raw materials can include lubricants, organic and inorganic fillers, metal powder, and abrasive materials. 

Inspection of Brake Friction Materials

Testing the effectiveness of a brake shoe requires various methods to check the quality. This process includes evaluating the physical properties like the intensity and the hardness of the friction materials in the brakes.

You can also test the chemical composition of these materials to ensure that the brake is safe for operation in an industrial environment. Effectiveness tests also include testing the wear and tear of the brakes, the squeal, and other factors that may affect smooth operation. You can use a dynamometer device to test the brakes. 

Brake Shoes Vs. Brake Pads

Brake pads are flat steel pieces with a thick friction layer on one side. This friction material can vary depending on the type of equipment and the intended use. The main difference between brake shoes and brake pads is the direction of their force.

Brake shoes are the things that carry the brake lining inside the brake drum systems. These are curved pieces of metal with friction material on one side.

Finding a Brake Shoe Replacement

Brake shoes are a crucial part of an industrial machine, as they provide effective slowing and stopping of parts while also providing safety features for the workers operating them. So, having reliable brake shoes is crucial to have a smooth flowing operation.

If you’re looking for brake shoe replacement, feel free to look at our website for your products and if you have any questions regarding our products, feel free to contact us.

Posted in Industrial Brakes and Clutches.