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Paper Number 03

Design of Formula SAE Brake Systems

Eric Hamilton
2008 FSAE Team Member

Eric Klang
Faculty Advisor Wolfpack Motorsports College of Engineering North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC 27695-7910

Copyright 2009 Wolfpack Motorsports

The Wolfpack Motorsports team designs, builds, and races a car in the Formula SAE Collegiate Design Series. Formula SAE [FSAE] is a competition organized by the Society of Automotive Engineers that draws over 100 international schools to the main competition in Detroit, Michigan. Wolfpack Motorsports has a history of strong finishes in the competition and continues to work towards winning. The objective of this project was to expand the students knowledge of mechanical engineering by developing software tools to help design a FSAE brakes system. These tools were be used to help design the brakes system on the 2008 Wolfpack Motorsports FSAE car. The software was used to determine the pedal ratio, master cylinders, calipers, and the number of rotors and their geometry. The guiding factors of the design process were maximum braking power, minimal weight, and manageable temperatures while maintaining reliability. These factors were analyzed in the student developed software program. The brake rotors for the 2008 car were designed in Solidworks and analyzed with Cosmo Express based on the results of this analysis. This report aims to explain the details of the software program as well as each step of the design process for the brakes system. It also serves as a reference to future members of Wolfpack Motorsports for brake system design.

design in 2006. There has been much debate with judges and amongst the team as to which setup is ideal and as fine tuning the handling and team members understandings of vehicle dynamics have improved the 4 rotor design has come back in 2008 with outboard rotors front and rear. This allows for more tunable and controllable dynamics - especially braking in corners. It also helps with packaging issues to run the two smaller rear rotors outboard. Also associated with the rotors is their mounting. As of 2007 Wolfpack Motorsports has started using a floating rotor with a fixed, opposed-piston caliper setup. This allows the rotor to center itself in between the pads to ensure efficient braking as well as a quick return to nonbraking once the brake pedal is released. This also narrows down the caliper selection, which is generally determined before sizing any other components. Another important factor in a brakes system is the balance of the car under braking. A car that is effectively balanced will be able achieve the maximum braking the system components are capable of as maintain stable handling under braking. A bias bar allows for moderate adjustment of the balance which is used primarily for fine tuning the handling of the car. But to be utilized correctly the cars brake system must be designed around the geometry and mass of the vehicle. Thus the sizes and number of rotors, diameters of master cylinders, and caliper pistons must be calculated with regard to the CG height of the car, wheelbase, and mass of the car and driver.

Design Objectives
The primary design consideration of a FSAE brakes system is the number of rotors and subsequently their placement inboard or outboard. The Wolfpack Motorsports car has primarily been a three rotor car with one foray into a 4 rotor (Front outboard, Rear inboard)

Design Process
Component sizing and selection: The Matlab program was written to streamline the component sizing process. It allows a basic

configuration to be entered and will iterate to help determine what size components to use. As more variables are determined, the braking of the car can be fine tuned further. This section will discuss the functionality of the program in relation to how it is used to size components. The program consists of three windows: Car Properties, Kinematics, and Heat Transfer. They are accessed one at a time with buttons at the bottom of the program window. Also at the bottom of the program window are buttons to save and load configurations. These buttons will either save or load all variables contained in the program. The Car Properties window contains all the variables related to the car that do not change due to changes in the brakes setup but that said setup depends on. The Kinematics window contains the bulk of the program and is used to size components and determine balance and braking forces. The Heat Transfer window is used for checking the rotor designs to make sure they meet fade and thermal heat failure requirements. The background color of a box is white if it requires a user input and grey if the program calculates the value. The following flowchart explains how to use the program. Details of each section follow the flowchart.
Start: Either start with a blank setup or load a setup. Loading an old setup should be easier for setting up a new car as many of the variables will not change from car to car

friction for the tires are estimated values. 0.65 has been used for the kinetic value and 1.35 for static. The mass moment of inertia can be determined with Solidworks, but 3.85 lb ft s^2 should be a fairly accurate assumption.

Figure 2: Car Properties Figure Window Kinematics: The kinematics window contains all the calculations relating to the dynamics of the vehicle under braking. This is where most of the work will take place. It calculates the deceleration of the car in Gs based on the force of the pedal, the configuration of the bias bar, the master cylinder sizes, caliper sizes and configuration, pad type, rotor geometry, and the interaction of the tires wit the road. For the program to calculate the braking values and help the user determine the optimal setup values must be filled out in every white box.

Car Properties: Input all properties of the car that do not depend on the brakes setup

Kinematics: Input necessary data for kinematics calculations. Force on pedal and offset do not matter yet as they will be calculated with the 3d plot function next.

3D Plot: Find potential master cylinder and rotor sizes This plot will help to determine what master cylinder selection will provide strong braking at a reasonable pedal force and offset. The information found here is fine tuned in the 2d plot.

2D Plot: Tune the balance Compare best master cylinder and offset setups from the 3d plots. Can have several windows open at once. Look for optimal braking Gs at a reasonable pedal force and offset. Also look for acceptable lockup characteristics.

Final Checks: Input maximum pedal force without lockup and Calculate Current Settings Ensure all details look acceptable like pedal force, offset, and line pressure.

Heat Transfer: Input necessary data for heat transfer calculations and calculate. Check to make sure variables are within their acceptable limits. Braking power can be compared to previous car and rotor setups to ensure rotors and pads will not be overheated.

Figure 1: Flowchart for Brakes Program Car Properties: When the program starts it opens to the Car Properties window. All of these values are necessary to perform the brakes calculations and should be determined in advance. The first box will show what, if any, file is loaded. This program allows all the variables to be saved and loaded to streamline comparison between different vehicles. Weight distribution will automatically be calculated as values are entered. The coefficients of Figure 3: Kinematics Program Window The first box contains information on the pedal and pedal ratio. While this will not affect the balance of the car The main considerations here are making sure the force required of the driver for lockup is not too high (120 is generally accepted as a maximum) and that the pedal,

bias bar, and master cylinders are able to fit in the car and be effectively actuated by the driver. The bias bar is the way the balance of the car is adjusted during testing. It allows pedal force to be biased towards one master cylinder or the other by turning the threaded rod. Turning it towards a master cylinder will put more force on that cylinder during braking. The aim of this program is to find a setup that has a bias bar offset near zero to allow for plenty of tuning in either direction during testing.
Master Cylinder Master Cylinder

past. This is a very dynamic value especially with respect to temperature and the 0.47 is used as an estimated value at operating temperatures around 600 to 700 degrees F. This value will not affect the balance of the car as long as the same values are used across different theoretical scenarios. It will, however, affect the maximum braking of the vehicle. The rotors require the most design time for the formula car, but with respect to this program and sizing of components in general the most important piece of information is the effective radius of the rotor. This is a point at which the pad is assumed to be acting and for our purposes we assume it to be the midpoint of the inner and outer radii of the rotor. ROuter




Pedal Force

Figure 4: Bias Bar Free Body Diagram The master cylinders determine the line pressure delivered to the calipers and therefore the potential clamping force of the calipers. Check the line pressures to ensure that they meet the safety requirements of the lines and fittings; an approximate limit for steel fittings and lines is 2000 psi. Generally the master cylinder type will be decided in advance and it is up to the brake engineer to decide what size to use. There is generally more opportunity to tune the balance of the car here than with caliper or rotor sizes because there is a wider range of sizes available in a package that will fit most pedal box configurations. Always check master cylinder sizes with suppliers. The most common sizes that are useful in this application are 0.625, 0.7, and 0.75. It is also worthwhile to check the shop to see what is available. The caliper bores are equally important as the master cylinder bores in determining the clamping force of the calipers. However the calipers are usually decided on based on functionality, packaging, and weight. Therefore the options for caliper bores are very limited and it is generally better pick one and tune for it with master cylinders. If the overall braking is still unacceptable then a different caliper bore may be necessary, but it is important to know the availability ahead of time. Clamping force is double the force exerted by one side of a caliper. A floating calipers piston force will be balanced by the opposite side and therefore will be double the force one side of the caliper exerts. An opposed piston caliper will exert equal force through each piston to balance the forces and therefore the clamping force on the rotor will be equal to the sum of the forces exerted by pistons. The value for the coefficient of friction for the brake pads is an estimate based on pads that have been used in the


Figure 5: Radii Diagram The brunt of the design work for the rotors is in the specifics of the mounting and surface geometry and will be discussed in detail later. The type of rotor/caliper setup must also be determined. The setup had been a floating caliper with a fixed rotor up front and a fixed or floating caliper with a fixed rotor in the rear. In 2008 all of the rotors will be floating with fixed calipers. This offers many advantages. The primary advantage is in braking efficiency. It is much easier for the rotor to float and react to the pads rather than the opposite. Also several of the floating calipers had very poor floating characteristics and could cause drag issues. The floating rotor setup also helps to alleviate extra stresses on the rotor by allowing it free movement to react to both the pads and thermal expansion. The number of rotors is an important design point as well. It has been thought that is better to run three rotors because of the weight savings of only one (albeit larger) rotor, caliper, and mounting. The use of new calipers has made this weight difference almost negligible this year. However as the understanding of vehicle dynamics of the team has increased the need for a 4 rotor setup has increased as well. It was also thought that tuning through the differential could create acceptable braking in corners with a 3 rotor setup. However the car generates a moment about its vertical axis as it brakes into a corner and the tuning potential of the previous differentials has not been able to overcome this. The third column of data in the kinematics window is used to calculate theoretical and actual braking forces

and deceleration. First values are calculated based on the brakes setup and the force input to determine the weight transfer, forces acting on the tires, and finally the braking force. This information must be passed through a script to determine if the tires are actually capable of handling this level of braking. If the forces are too high the coefficient of friction will change from static to dynamic which corresponds to a tire sliding in the real world. Therefore an iterative process compares the theoretical braking deceleration to the actual deceleration the tires are capable of to determine at what point tires lockup and what the actual deceleration of the car is. With all this information entered it is possible to start tuning the system. At his point a 3-dimensional plot is utilized. This plot compares pedal force to bias bar offset to braking deceleration of the car. This plot is used to determine which master cylinder sizes are most effective. The goal is to find a combination that put the peak deceleration at a 0 offset on the bias bar and somewhere around 80 to 120 pounds of pedal force. To activate this plot, press the Plot Pedal Force vs. Offset vs. Braking Gs button in the bottom left. It will iterate the braking values across bias bar offsets from -10 to 10 and pedal forces from 0 to 200 pounds. A button at the top of the figure window allows the user to rotate the figure. This makes it easier to see what is going on and determine where the peak braking is in relation to other variables. With increasing pedal force beyond the peak, front or rear wheels have locked up. This situation is to be avoided in the real world and the data is not useful theoretically either. Therefore this area of the graph is not of much importance. However it is important to make sure that the maximum braking possible occurs before the front or rear tires lock up. In extreme cases is it possible to generate a graph where maximum braking occurs after a set of tires has theoretically locked.

The next plot utilized is Pedal Force vs. Braking Gs. This is essentially a slice of the previous graph. It makes it much easier to analyze exactly what is going on with a given master cylinder selection. This is also where the brake balance is dialed in. The other advantage of this graph is that it allows for easy comparison of setups. Data on the master cylinder sizes, offset, and rotor sizes is printed in the bottom corner of the graph. Several of these plots can be opened at once. It allows maximum braking, force required for maximum braking, and lockup behavior to be compared very easily. Once the ideal setup is found here the component sizing is finished. There is one more calculation function to calculate the current settings. This is useful to determine specific details about a brakes setup. For instance it can be used to determine exactly what force the maximum braking is

at and then check line pressures and other forces to make sure they are reasonable. Figure 7: Brake Force versus Deceleration Gs Plot

Rotor Design
The design of the brake rotors for the Formula car is based on a history of rotors that have worked and one that failed. By analyzing previous systems it is possible to tell approximately what mass of rotor is necessary to ensure safe, repeatable braking. It also helps to determine how much volume of rotor is necessary to keep from overheating the pads. Since 2003 the following people have worked on rotor design: Luke Lambert, Eric Hamilton, Matt Anderson, and Josh Weeks. The rotors were generally all designed from laser cut 1020 steel with a thickness of 0.185. There were slots cut into the rotors to help reduce weight while providing a larger effective radius. The slots also served to reduce thermally induced stresses in the rotor. The same reasoning was used for the scallops

Figure 6: Pedal Force vs. Bias Bar Offset vs. Braking G's

around the outside. At one point rotors had been designed with holes rather than slots but the fabrication costs were several times more per rotor due to complicated laser cutter setup. These rotors have always been ordered from Martin Custom Products and it is advisable to get the order in early because of a sometimes long turnaround time. The Cosmos Express package in Solidworks has been used to analyze the rotors. At the time the program was used it was rather limited in its analysis ability. Cosmos did not allow for torque loading and could only do hard restraints. Therefore a few methods were developed to analyze the rotors that appear to yield acceptable results. The methods involved mimicking a torque load through a series of loads or restraints around the rotor. The first change to the Solidworks model is a split line to differentiate the area the pad would contact the rotor from the rest of the rotor. This provides a point to apply loads or restraints for the FEA. Next planes are drawn perpendicular to the mounting points as well as distributed across the face of the rotor and in the center of the pad outline. The first method is to restrain all the mounting points of the rotor. Next a load is applied to the rotor on the pad parallel to the rotor. This should be done to both sides of the rotor. Values for the force can be determined from the Force of Friction (front or rear) box in the kinematics window of the program. Generally this number has been rounded up to the nearest 100 pounds. The pedal force should be set to the maximum possible pedal force before tire lockup to determine this value. The loading should be applied as one load across the two sides of the rotor. The analysis for this method can now be run. The second method is to switch the forces and restraints. The forces on the mounting points must be recalculated to determine the value of the force at the new radius to maintain the same torque. The forces should also be arranged to create a torque on the rotor.

Figure 8: Brake Rotor with Load Applied to Pad The next parts of the analysis will provide options to see wherever the Factor of Safety of the rotor is below a specified value. All the rotors have been designed to have at the absolute minimum of a 1.0 Factor of Safety, but it is definitely better to try to get a little higher. Most models have had a FOS somewhere around 1.3 with anywhere from 100 200 pounds added to the applied load as well. The most important stresses to look for are at mounting points and around the ends of the slots. The only rotor failure in the past 4 years was on a rear rotor on which the distribution of slots coincided incorrectly with the scallops on the rotor; thus leading to a crack and then complete failure of the rotor. When adequate space, as determined through FEA analysis, has been designed into the rotor there have been no failures. Some experience is necessary here to help determine what stresses the rotor will actually see and what is a result of the way it is modeled. Sometimes there are very high stress concentrations due to the models defined lines for the forces and restraints that do not exist in the real world. Cosmos also continues to improve so it is very possible that this method of modeling will be outdated and replaced by much more accurate FEA models.

Figure 9: Brake Rotor Stress Distribution and Deflection

The car is plumbed with 3/16 stainless steel hardline as much as possible to reduce weight. Flex lines (-3) are used to connect hardlines to brake calipers to allow for movement of the wheel. AN-3 fittings are used for all connections. While aluminum fittings have been used in the past, it is much safer to use steel fittings. The brake line pressure has increased some the past few years and a DNF due to a failed fitting is not worth the weight savings of the aluminum fittings. Also because the lines are stainless steel and the available flaring tools are

simple single flares are used for all the hardlines. If these are done carefully and matched with steel fittings they will perform without leaking. A pressure switch is plumbed into a rear line to operate the brake light. Also note that for the past 4 carbon cars the chassis has been designed to split where the rear meets the front. This means that the brake and clutch lines must be able to split here as well so fittings for this are required. One method that has worked well for determining plumbing requirements is to draw a complete chart of the brakes system to determine exactly what is needed and then order a few spares. There should be a compartmentalized box in the shop with extra fittings, but its a good idea to make sure there will always be a spare. There has only been one significant brakes real world brakes test so far. There were IR heat sensors mounted to the rear rotor and a front rotor. It turned out that the operating range of the sensors was below the operating temperature of the rotors. However the data showed that the temperature would exceed the range of the sensors but tend to oscillate back and forth in and out of range at steady state. Therefore it was determined that the brakes operate not much above the maximum range of the sensor, or around 650 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit. It also showed that the pads and rotors would be at least 300 400 degrees Fahrenheit within a couple braking zones. This information is very useful when picking out brake pads. It showed definitely what temperature range was necessary, but also that it gets close to that range very quickly. Future tests that could be beneficial are stopping distance tests to give a comparison point for different cars and a way to check the accuracy of the program. It would also be a good idea to do some type of repeated braking test to determine fade characteristics. of%20Braking%20Systems.pdf Accessed March 31, 2008.* *The original information used from this site was accessed in 2004 and is no longer available. The link provided is an updated and much more in-depth version.

Brakes are an essential part of a racecar, but in general large performance gains are not made here. It is important to design a system that is well balanced, offers tuning potential during testing, and is reliable. It would be exciting to see further research look into the heat capacity of rotors more and balance analytical work with real world testing.

Stone, Richard. And Jeffrey K. Bell. Automotive Engineering Fundamentals. Warrendale, Pa: Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc. 2004. Limpert, Rudolf. Brake Design and Safety. Warrendale, Pa: Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc. 1999. Walker, Jr., James. The Physics of Braking Systems StopTech LLC. 2005.