Simulation-Driven Process to Evaluate Vehicle Integration Aspects in Brake Thermal Design 2017-36-0011
Thermal performance of a brake system is one of the key attributes in a new vehicle development process. Adequate brake cooling characteristics are part of the vehicle performance and safety requirements.
The design of a new brake system, however, can be a complex task from a thermal engineering perspective, particularly because of complex interactions between the brake component and the rest of the vehicle. Frequently, the vehicle integration issues are the most serious challenges for brake engineers. There are considerations on how much heat should be dissipated from a single and/or consecutive braking events vs. how much cooling can be provided to the brake corner. Design issues such as where to direct the cooling air to how much flexibility is allowed while complying with other requirements from the studio and aero teams. For a brake engineer, the priority is to maximize cooling to the brake corner and prevent system failure.
Furthermore, material selection is another key design factor. The recent trend in the automotive industry to reduce vehicle weight includes the use of new lightweight materials for brake cooling components. The impact of different thermo-physical properties of these new materials needs to be analyzed to fully understand the thermal responses of the new brake system.
In this study, a full vehicle analysis on the thermal performance of a vehicle’s brake system was carried out to demonstrate the overall simulation process. The effects of all heat transfer modes including convection, radiation, and conduction were accounted for in the analysis. Particular attention to examine the effects of possible design choices such as convective cooling enhancement features and component material selection. Some of the design parameters greatly alter the thermal performance of the brake, while others are much less pronounced. The trade-off aspects with aerodynamic impact was examined as well. The “digital design process” described in this study can provide valuable physical insights to brake engineers when they look for reliable answers to “what if” questions for design iterations.