Development of Steel Clad Aluminum Brake
Aluminum based brake rotors have been a priority research topic in the DOE 1999 Aluminum Industry Roadmap for the Automobile Market. After fourteen years, no satisfactory technology has been developed to solve the problem of aluminum's low working temperatures except the steel clad aluminum (SCA) brake technology. This technology research started at Michigan Technological University (MTU) in 2001 and has matured recently for commercial productions. The SCA brake rotor has a solid body and replaces the traditional convective cooling of a vented rotor with conductive cooling to a connected aluminum wheel. Much lower temperatures result with the aluminum wheel acting as a great heat sink/radiator. The steel cladding further increases the capability of the SCA rotor to withstand higher surface temperatures. During the road tests of SCA rotors on three cars, significant gas mileage improvement was found; primarily attributed to the unique capability of the SCA rotor on pad drag reduction.