Aerodynamic cooling of automotive disc brakes

Stephens, A 2006, Aerodynamic cooling of automotive disc brakes, Masters by Research, Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Aerodynamic cooling of automotive disc brakes
Author(s) Stephens, A
Year 2006
Abstract Sufficient heat dissipation is crucial to the effective operation of friction based braking systems. Such cooling is generally provided by ensuring a sufficient supply of cooling air to the heated components, hence the aerodynamics in the region of the brake components is extremely important. The objective of the research was to develop an understanding of how aerodynamics could be used to improve the cooling of automotive disc brakes. Two separate sets of wind tunnel experiments were developed. Tests were performed on a vented disc (rotor) to measure the internal flow through the vents on a rotating vented disc under various conditions, including an isolated disc in still air, the disc in still air with the wheel on, the disc in moving air with the wheel on, and an on-road simulation using a ¼ car. On vehicle tests were also performed in a wind tunnel using a purpose built brake test rig. These tests measured the thermal performance of different brake discs under various operating parameters; including constant load braking, and cooling from high temperature under various speeds, wheels and disc types. It was found that airflow through vented rotors was significantly reduced during simulated on-road driving, compared to when measured in isolation, but not particularly affected by the vehicles speed. In the situations tested, vented discs offered a 40+% improvement in cooling over an equivalent sized solid rotors. However the research indicates that the greatest benefit of vented rotors over solid will be in vehicles where air entering the wheel cavity is limited, such as low drag vehicles. It was also found that the most significant improvements in brake thermal performance could be achieved by maximising the airflow into the region of the brake components; including increasing the open area of the wheel, and increasing the vehicle velocity. Other improvements can be achieved by using a wheel material with good conductive capability, and increasing the mass of the disc. Evidence of vortex shedding was also discovered in the airflow at the exit of an internal vented rotor, any reduction in this flow disturbance should lead to increased airflow with associated improvements in thermal performance.
Degree Masters by Research
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Keyword(s) Aerodynamics
Brake Cooling
Brake Testing
Disc Brakes
Airflow Measurements
Cobra Probe
Wind Tunnel Testing
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