|High Performance Brakes
By - lawrence
|here are many performance enhancements you can buy for your car. I've seen ads for computer chips that increase the horsepower of fuel injected cars. There are high performance ignition systems that claim to improve fuel combustion, and hence increase horsepower. You can also get special air cleaners and exhaust systems that allow the car to 'breathe' better, thereby increasing it's go-ability. But one area that's often overlooked is the area of brake upgrades. Improving your brakes will actually make your car go faster.|
Let me explain what I mean. As you approach a sharp turn in the road or you need to make a turn onto a side street, you need to slow the car down in order to negotiate the turn. The farther you can go before you have to slow the car down, the faster you can get to where you're going. Racers call this "charging" the corners. If your car has better brakes, you can go deeper into the corner before you brake, and thereby reduce the time it takes to get through the course.
If you don't like my racing analogy, think of better brakes as a way to avoid accidents. If a child runs out in front of you, a shorter stopping distance of just five feet can be the difference between life and death. Or, if you're on the freeway and a deer jumps out in front of you, better brakes can give you (and the deer) additional time to clear each other. Even if you aren't worried about what happens to poor Bambi, the damage your car sustains by hitting a dear at 20 MPH can be severe. Lower that speed to 10 or even 5 MPH, and the damage will be greatly reduced.
There are several ways to improve your brakes. From Machine Design - Theory and Practice, an old text book from my college days, braking torque is given by:
¦ is the coefficient of friction of the system (pad/disk)
Increasing the normal force, F, appied to the pad can be achieved by installing calipers with larger piston bores. The larger the bore (assuming you don't change the master cylinder bore) the more normal force is applied to the pads. This can be a good way to increase braking torque, but be sure there is enough brake pedal travel in order to accomodate the increased fluid flow to the larger caliper bores.
The third method is to increase the diameter (Ro + Ri) of the rotors. This is the path I took while keeping everything else the same.
Note that nowhere in the equation is there a term for the surface area of the pad. A larger pad won't increase the braking torque since the same normal force will simply be distributed over the entire surface (assuming no flex). A larger pad surface will reduce the loading of the pad, and hence will increase the life of the pad and rotor.