Hello how are you today?
It has been a few weeks since my last post, the reason is that I am very busy supplying motorsport parts to some of the major racing teams and developing many new motorsport products for all of you. Enough of all this, let’s get down to what you want to know. What is brake fade?
Brake discoloration is totally creepy and frightening when it does happen, but at some point I can guarantee you will experience it in your piloting career.
After reading this article you will understand why this happened and what it is. Normally there are two types of brake discoloration, brake oil boiling and brake pad degradation.
brake fluid boiling
This is the most common brake discoloration caused by the brake fluid getting so hot from the friction of the brake pads and discs being transferred into the brake fluid. This heat dissipation ends up boiling the brake fluid causing air bubbles, those air bubbles that are created compress when the pedal is depressed. The strong link from the master cylinder to the caliper has been compromised with air that will compress.
Sometimes in extreme cases the brake pedal will go to the ground and not barely offer and brake at all! The only way to get the brakes back to a working system is to let the brake fluid cool. It’s quite difficult in a racing environment when you push the car to its limits. However, there are some techniques that can help, I will talk about them later in this article.
Overheating of the brake pads;
The other reason for brake discoloration is that the brake pads become very hot again due to heat dissipation due to the friction caused during hard braking. In this scenario, the brake pads will get so hot that the composite of the pads will be compromised. What happens is that the temperature of the electrodes has risen above the point at which the electrodes are designed to function. When this happens, the gas in the wafers is removed from it, this gas not only evaporates, it forms a layer on the wafer between the wafer and the disc / rotor.
When this happens, the layer acts almost like a lubricant, so the pad can’t create the desired braking needed to slow the car down. You will find that in this situation the pedal will be normal as well, but no matter how hard you press the pedal, the car will not brake normally.
What to do if the brakes faint?
Both of these scenarios are due to heat in the braking system, the only solution is to cool the system. As I mentioned before, it is very difficult when you are in a racing situation and you are driving the car to its limits. But with either of these circumstances, you won’t be able to drive the car to its limits.
There are several ways to help cool the brakes without affecting your speed too much.
Braking very late in the corners is not a good practice, as it will cause heat problems and not save you much time. Therefore, braking a little earlier will not affect your lap times much, as long as you brake lightly so that your cornering entry speed is as high as it normally would be.
When the braking is lighter, the heat is less, so your brakes will stay cooler to reduce the heat problem. The goal is to keep heat out of the brake system and allow the brakes to cool as much as possible, allowing air to flow through the brakes.
If you have a spot on the race track where you can’t use the brakes and use the throttle to slow down slightly or a combination of releasing the throttle and applying the brakes lightly will help cool the system.
Hope you found this interesting, thanks for your time.