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Lets Look At Different Types Of Performance Braking Systems

Updated on July 6, 2012

Performance Friction For The Win

Types of Performance Braking Systems

The advent of the wheel changed the face of history. Transporting people and goods became much simpler. But people of the past had great difficulty in braking. Initially they used a wooden block attached to a brake lever which caused friction and made the cart stop. This was used for the next 2000 years with no improvement in braking technology.

In the 20th century, with development in the automotive and trucking industry, braking systems improved. Heavy transportation vehicles and sports vehicle needed better performance braking systems and shorter stopping distances. Few of the performance braking systems are described below.

Hydraulic Braking System

These brakes use a special brake mechanism using a brake fluid, usually ethylene glycol to transfer pressure from the control unit near the foot of the driver to the actual braking system near the wheel. When the driver presses the brake pedal, fluid in the master cylinder is transferred to the pressure chambers exerting pressure on the whole system.

The calliper pistons prevent the fluid from escaping and put pressure on the brake pads which push against the rotor. The friction between the spinning rotor and brake pads causes the vehicle to slow down and eventually stop.

Hydraulic brake is an extremely powerful performance braking system used in heavy duty vehicles like bulldozers and cargo carrier trucks and are. The only disadvantage of these brakes is that in event of fluid leakage your braking system can fail.

Air Brakes Ciruit

Air Braking System

The original air brake system was called the straight air system that employed a standard drum or disc brake activated by air pressure. It used compressed air to exert pressure on a piston inside a cylinder causing the brake shoes to rub on the wheels through a mechanical linkage.

This method is used in cargo or people carriers like trains, tractor-trailers and buses. But with advancement in the automotive industry these vehicles became longer, faster and much heavier and needed immediate brake application than the previously used sequential brake application.

The electro-pneumatic brakes allowed immediate brakes and are used in British trains since 1949. Their disadvantage is that if any cock joining the pipes of carriages is closed, the brake system of that carriage and all carriages behind that will fail to respond.

Antilock Braking System (ABS)

Initially developed in 1929 for aircraft braking, ABS was later applied on motorcycles and cars. It uses an electronic control unit, a hydraulic actuator and sensors for wheel speed at each wheel. In case of an emergency stop, it does not lock up the wheels; instead it pumps the brakes on each wheel to prevent skidding.

ABS reduces the risk of the driver losing control of the vehicle the grip of the tyre on the road and enhancing directional stability. Research by Monash University Accident Research Centre in 2003 found that ABS vehicles decreased the chance of more than one vehicle accidents by 18 percent and run-off road crashes by a whopping 35 percent.

With more technological innovation and enhancements in vehicles, there is a constant struggle to make a performance braking system that reduces the risk of accidents and increases the performance of the brake kit.

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