BRAKE TECH: Why Brakes Fail: An Engineering Analysis

CAR & DRIVER has more engineers on staff than almost any other magazine. When the brakes failed on a Nissan NISMO 370Z they were testing at a race track they performed an autopsy that tells the story of the challenges technicians and shops face everyday.

The failure of the brakes in this case was not a defect, it was a case of compromise when it comes to designing a car and selecting the right pads for the driver and conditions. They found that stock pads had low noise and dusting. But, they also were more prone to fade under high heat conditions. If the car had pads that could stand up to racing conditions, chances are the car would not sell.

The real interesting  topic they touch on is aerodynamics and brakes. They found that in order to get a lower coefficient of drag, the air needed to cool the brakes was minimized for the sake of fuel efficiency.

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