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Federal-Mogul low-copper and copper-free brake pads for heavy-duty vehicles

Federal-Mogul Motorparts, a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation, has introduced a range of low-copper and copper-free brake pads for heavy-duty vehicles. Building on the success of its existing Eco-Friction pads for light vehicles (earlier post), the new formulations meet forthcoming environmental legislations without compromising pad performance and allow customers to satisfy all markets with a single specification.

Future legislation in the US will restrict copper’s use and most vehicle manufacturers are seeking global compliance in all new vehicles to eliminate the complexity of regional variations. Copper content, currently up to 20t, will be limited to less than 5% from 2021, and will eventually be reduced to less than 0.5%.

We were able to use our experience from light vehicle applications by following a similar development process, but the actual material formulations are quite different for heavy-duty applications. Light-duty concerns include comfort and convenience factors such as brake noise and dust generation. With heavy commercial vehicles, safety and temperature issues predominate because the maximum pad temperatures are much higher, so resistance to disc cracking is an important parameter.

—Marcus Morbach, Development Manager, Federal-Mogul Motorparts

The maximum pad temperatures experienced on light vehicles are 500 - 600°C, whereas a heavily laden truck descending a long gradient may generate temperatures up to 1,000 °C. Direct comparison testing on articulated trucks has shown that the new pads withstand the effects of high temperature, meeting or exceeding the service life of conventional pad materials.

Because no single raw material provides a direct replacement for copper, Federal-Mogul used a process termed “tribological fingerprinting” to assess the range of elements that might be used as alternatives. The end result was an innovative combination of alternative raw materials that replaces the copper and still exceeds manufacturers’ brake performance and durability requirements. The new pads have been validated for friction, wear, noise and their effect on disc life for both truck and trailer applications in extensive field trials.

Federal-Mogul will commence series production later this year of pads with less than 5% copper for heavy-duty applications, while samples with under 0.5% will be undergoing evaluation by customers.

Federal-Mogul markets its new Eco-Friction brake pads under its Jurid and Ferodo brands.

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