Brake-pad Compounds/Types explained

When purchasing new brake-pads you would of probably heard the terms Organic, Semi-metallic or Ceramic. But what do they mean? It’s simple, these refer to the the different types of material compounds that make up the brake-pad. Each compound is different from each other having their own characteristics and with this, their own advantages. (NOTE – These are not the only types of brake-pads available in the market, but the most commonly found ones.)

Organic Brake-pads/Non-metallic

Developed as the solution to asbestos brake pads, made up of various fibers such as kevlar, glass and rubber.
The characteristics of this material compound is:
+ Low wear rate on disc rotors/drums
+ Lower priced
+ Ideal for daily driving
+ Materials cause low pollution
– Can create more dust compared to other compounds
– Shorter service life

Semi-metallic

This brake-pad is made from a blend of different metal types such as steel wool, copper, wire and other fillers. Up to 30% to 65% of the brake-pad is made up of these metal types – hence the name.
The characteristics of this material compound is:
+ Increased brake-fade resistance
+ Longer service life
+ Able to operate in wide temperature range
~ Priced between organic and ceramic brake-pads
~ Different semi-metallic blends available from daily driving to track use
– Performance not optimal during cold temperatures
– Increased wear on disc rotors/drums

Ceramic

Ceramic brake-pads were created as an alternative to organic and semi-metallic brake-pads, and the newest type to be developed out of three (1980’s to be exact!). Ceramic brake-pads are made of dense ceramic materials and copper fibers.
The characteristics of this material compound is:
+ Quieter braking compared against semi-metallic type
+ Low Dust output
+ Brake dust is lightly colored – hard to spot
+ Brake dust less likely to stick to wheels
+ Long service life
– Cannot dissipate heat as well as semi-metallic type
– More expensive

Yeah the Boys!

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