Browse Publications Technical Papers 2005-01-3936

Performance Evaluation of ULTALITE® Low Cost Aluminium Metal Matrix Composite Based Brake Drums 2005-01-3936

ULTALITE® is a patented low cost Aluminium Metal Matrix Composite (Al-MMC) produced using flyash particles as the reinforcement particulate. The material is proven to possess higher stiffness, strength and wear resistance relative to the monolithic matrix alloy both at room and elevated temperatures.
Cast Iron has been utilised in brake drums and disc rotors throughout the history of Automobile manufacturing. High density, rigorous machining due to imprecise casting and consequently, substantial production cycle times are few of the inherited drawbacks in utilising cast iron for brake drums. Utilisation of a material such as this is undoubtedly invaluable in eliminating majority of such shortcomings.
In this paper, our focus is on the performance of automotive brake drums produced with this new material. Brake dynamometer test results are presented and analysed substantiating the suitability of the technology. Brake drums for testing purposes were produced by a squeeze casting method.
Brake dynamometer tests were conducted in accordance with the SAE J2522 standard. The new AL-MMC drums with standard linings exhibit equivalent or better performance comparatively to OE Cast Iron drums at all times. Heat dissipation characteristics of these Al-MMC based brake drums are outstanding compared to OE Cast Iron brake drums and this is further proven by the Brake Dynamometer test results. Wear test results indicate superior wear characteristics compared to OE Cast Iron brake drums.
Components made from this new material also possess characteristics such as less machining, stringent tolerances, less production time and substantial weight reductions partly due to the die casting fabrication process. Considering the tests results and evident benefits, we demonstrate that the investigated Al-MMC based brake drums are a potential substitute for OE Cast Iron brake drums.


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