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What Are Brake Pads?

Brake pads are an essential part of a vehicle. They absorb the frictional force that help stop a car. Each time a person brakes, the pedal triggers a hydraulic line that pinches the calipers against the rotors of the tires of the car. The brake pads, found in the middle of the calipers and the rotors, take the brunt of the heat and energy, and then give the “grip” which pulls the vehicle to a stop.

One way of grasping the way a brake pad works is to look at a ten speed bike. The brake pad is like the handgrip positioned at the bars, which you squeeze if you want to stop the bike. As you squeeze, the cables pull together the calipers (which are the two hinged pieces). The calipers don’t actually touch the tire rim; instead, the rubber pieces do. These act like automative brake pads, while the bike rim tire is the rotor. Together, they create the friction that will stop the bike.

Brake pads undergo a lot of wear and tear, and will eventually reach such a worn out state that they won’t be able to work properly. They must be made of durable material. Before, brake pads were made with asbestos and carbon. When asbestos was discovered to have multiple health risks, it was replaced by Kevlar which is also used in making bullet proof vests. There are also semi metallic brake pads that combine copper, brass, and steel wool shavings. The semi metallic brake pads are quite durable but tend to be noisy. Manufacturers have taken advantage of this “limitation” by creating special shims that will exacerbate the noise when the brake pads are about to be worn down. This alerts the driver that it is time to get new brake pads.

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