Volvo Brake Maintenance – How Your Brakes Work
- Brake pedal
- Master Cylinder
- Booster (power assisted brakes)
- Disk Brake
I will sprinkle some physics into my explanation to spice things up a little.
When you put your foot on the brake pedal, you are applying mechanical action or leverage onto the hydraulic system at the fulcrum.
The pedal is designed in such a way that it can multiply the force from your leg several times before any force is even transmitted to the brake fluid.
Hydraulic system (Braking system)
Pascal’s law of physics states that “Pressure applied to any part of a confined fluid transmits to every other part with no loss. The pressure acts with equal force on all equal areas of the confining walls and perpendicular to the walls.” This is the basic principle for any hydraulic system.
For example, an enclosed toothpaste tube can be considered as a simple hydraulic system.
Take a new tube of toothpaste with the cap on and puncture four holes to simulate the location of four wheels in a braking system.
The paste in the tube represents the brake fluid. When you apply pressure at any one point on the tube, you will observe that toothpaste or brake fluid will come out from all four holes evenly.
So, when you apply pressure on the brake pedal, force is transmitted to the master cylinder at the fulcrum or pivot point. Volvo’s master cylinder is equipped with a booster to further amplify this force. We can refer to this force as power assisted braking.
The brake fluid in the master cylinder is then compressed and pressure is equally distributed to the four disk brakes.
Disc brakes use a clamping action to produce friction between the “rotor” and the “pads” mounted in the “caliper” attached to the suspension members. Inside the calipers, pistons press against the pads due to pressure generated in the master cylinder. The pads then rub against the rotor, slowing the vehicle.
Disc brakes work using much the same basic principle as the brakes on a bicycle; as the caliper pinches the wheel with pads on both sides, it slows the bicycle. Volvo uses all Disc brakes to offer a higher braking performance.
The Volvo Disk Brakes consist of:
- Brake Pads
- Self-Adjusting Calipers (Floating Calipers)
Brake pads have two main component. The steel backing, and the actual friction material.
The backing supports the friction material, which does the actual work of stopping the car. The friction material does it’s job by converting kinetic energy to heat energy.
Friction is created when the pad squeezes down on the rotors creating heat. This heat is transferred to the pad; thus, wearing out the brake pad.
Self-Adjusting Calipers (Floating Calipers)
The Caliper assembly is composed of the pistons which push the calipers as a result of hydraulic pressure.
The inside part of the calipers holds a pair of brake pads on either side, which push in to clamp down on the rotors; thus, slowing down the vehicle.
The Caliper is called a floating caliper because it slides back and forth on a pin, automatically adjusting itself to ensure that both pads have full contact with the rotor. This makes the braking action more effective.
The rotor is the spinning cast iron disk in between the two brake pads. The Volvo rotors are internally vented, meaning that they have slots to allow for air cooling.
Click the link below to view some pretty Disk Brake images
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