The Best Brake Pad Materials




Cars primarily move from one place to another; however, they would be utterly useless and dangerous without the ability to stop. Thus, the ‘brake system,’ involving a steel ‘cap’ compressed by pads, create enough friction to stop the vehicle. Consequently, the type of brake pad materials influences car performance greatly. Our definitive guide expands the context of brake pad materials relating to the rest of the vehicle. 

The idea is simple enough to understand. However, most people do not think about what materials allow for this constant use of frictional energy (which can be very destructive). 

Indeed, if you thought a regular piece of steel was responsible for this, you would be wrong. A brake pad material without any enhancements would easily warp after some exposure, potentially causing an accident. 

Furthermore, specific driving conditions can demand too much of regular brake pad materials. Thus, to prevent damage to your vehicle and yourself, it is essential to understand different braking materials and their typical applications.

Types of Brake Pad Materials

Ceramic Brake Pads

As their namesake suggests, ceramic brakes are composed of a hardened ceramic mixture embedded with copper metal. 

This ceramic is the same kind you will find in Mediterranean roof tiles, or standard clay pots, albeit with some modifications. The most significant of these is the addition of copper wires embedded in the material to help with cessation. 

Of course, both ceramic and copper can also reduce frictional heat, making it less harmful to the car’s overall braking system. 

Finally, the use of ceramic also allows for ‘silent’ braking, which does not produce as much ‘dust.’ The downside to ceramic brakes is their density and cost.

Metallic Brake Pads

Metallic brake pads are not a single piece of steel; instead, they are a mixture of metals and alloys. The compositions may differ depending on the pad. However, the defining factor of metallic pads reveals when combined with ‘graphite lubricant,’ allowing for its proper use. 

The alloy combination preserves the integrity of the pad against the extreme heat of friction, which is essential since metal pads are ‘high performance.’ 

This means that they can operate in extreme temperatures, similar to the stressful demands of professional racing. Of course, this high performance comes at risking deformations in the brake pads. 

Organic Brake Pads

  Organic brake materials are not made from grass. Instead, this pad is an adhesive mix of carbon compounds, rubber, fibreglass, and even Kevlar. Though this may sound dubious, organic brakes are in many modern cars suited for day-to-day activities. 

As such, they cannot handle the stress of a racetrack or the wear of extreme weather conditions but make as an entirely cheap utility. 

The advantage of organic brakes is that they tend to be the most affordable of the three while offering reasonable performance. The only other downside to organic brakes is they are more likely to wear down faster than the others. Consequently, Organic brakes require replacements often.

To summarize, organic braking pads are standard in casual driving cars, ceramic pads are better, and steel pads are for high-performance vehicles. 

These are all generalizations since it is possible to use steel brakes in a generic Honda civic. This article aims to address the best uses of each brake pad materials performance and utility. 

With this knowledge in mind, it may be possible to save some money, knowing that organic brakes can serve a regular lifestyle and the pricier ceramic. Likewise, it is best to avoid using organics for any stunt driving when metallic brakes would be ideal.