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How brakes work? Types of brakes

Brakes and its types –

Introduction of brake-

Brake is a normal mechanical device by means of which we are able to apply artificial frictional resistance to any moving object in order to stop the object how to decrease the speed of the object by decelerating it. Example can be seen on the brakes used when the elevator is being lowered. In the elevator, the potential energy gets converted into kinetic energy and in turn the kinetic energy gets converted into heat energy only due to the cause of friction. This energy is absorbed by the brakes which is nothing but releasing of heat. The capacity of a brake depends on many factors.

Those are as follows.
1. The amount of pressure between the braking surfaces.
2. The coefficient of friction for both the surfaces of braking.
3. The velocity with which the drum acts.
4. The area of the frictional surfaces being projected.
5.  The ability of the Braking System to eliminate the amount of heat produced due to the conversion of kinetic and potential energy to heat energy.

Most people think that clutch and brake are actually the same.  The function of clutch is to keep the driving and the driven member moving together. But the function of brake is to stop the moving member or to control the speed of a moving member. Brakes are also used to keep the body stationary.

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Types of brakes-

Brakes are  usually classified into three types. They are

1. Frictional brakes
2. Electromagnetic brakes.
3. Pumping brakes.

Frictional brakes-

Frictional breaks are the most commonly used brakes in our daily life. They can be divided into shoe or pad brakes. It does not include any hydraulic brakes. The best example of frictional break is the braking system in any automobile or in any two wheeler vehicle. This brake is  forced mechanically.

Pumping brakes-

These types of brakes are normally used when there is a pump associated with the engine of the vehicle. Example let us say a vehicle is equipped with an internal combustion piston motor. When the fuel supply gets stopped to the internal combustion engine, automatically we see some sort of lag in the system. These types of brakes are known as pumping brakes.

Electromagnetic brakes-

Electromagnetic brakes are similar to pumping brakes.  Electromagnetic brakes are used when there is an electric motor associated with the machinery of the system. Now a days we see many hybrid gasoline and electric vehicles, which use electric motor as a generator only for charging electric batteries and also for the use of regenerative brake. These types of brakes use the principle of Eddy Currents and electromagnetism. These types of brakes are known as electromagnetic brakes.

Disc brakes-

Disc brakes are the most important brakes and that the most commonly used brakes in the present situation. Disc brake consists of a disc made of stainless steel or aluminium alloy and the caliper piston is attached to the disc with the help of pads.

When a mechanical motion is applied by us, the Piston present in the system pushes the fluid in the brake that uses Pascal’s law. Due to this, the brake pads tightly rub against the disc brake which in turn causes the vehicle to stop. The disc brake also has many small irregular and regular holes on it which was used for the dissipation of heat which was produced when converting the kinetic energy into heat energy.

Drum Brake-

A drum brake consists of a drum attached to the wheel, following the wheel cylinder, brake springs, brake shoes and many parts. Hydraulic pressure is used while mastering the drum brake. This creates friction between the wheel and the drum and therefore reduces the speed of the vehicle. This type of break is known as drum brake.

Emergency brakes-

Vehicles are also equipped with emergency brakes, which are secondary brakes. These emergency brakes are independent of service brakes and are not functioned by hydraulic brakes. These are mostly used in parking facilities.This is about emergency brakes.

Characteristics of a brake-

Peak Force-

The peak force is the maximum pressure applied on the vehicle for the production of decelerating effect. The peak force is greater than the amount of breaking force the tires can resist.

Continuous power dissipation-

In the Braking System, the kinetic energy gets converted into heat energy and this heat must be dissipated to the atmosphere for the normal functioning of the brake. There will be continuous dissipation of heat to the surroundings when a break is applied to the system. This is known as continuous power dissipation.


As we keep on using the brakes constantly, the brake gets heated and becomes less effective. This phenomenon is known as fading of the Braking System. Any cooling mechanism can be used for reducing the effect of fading.


Let us a break is not smooth enough to use in a system. When this type of brake is used, it may or may not work efficiently. So smoothness is an important characteristic of the brakes.


All the types of brakes have wear surfaces that must be changed periodically. Damaged surfaces includes disc brake, drum, pads, pistons, calipers and many more. Durability is an important characteristic of brakes.


Brakes must be light in weight yet strong so that it will do the job in a right way. Increased weight may increase the chance of braking but there may be several disadvantages when compared to advantages. Weight is also an important characteristic of braking system.


Usually, any type of brake creates some type of noise. That may be very disturbing or very low according to the type of brake and type of usage. Noise also becomes an important factor while applying a braking system.

Types of disc brakes-

1. Normal type disc brake
2. Drilled type disc brake
3. Grooved type disc brake
4. Dimpled type disc brake
5. Combination disc brake

Normal type disc brake-

Normal type disc brake is a flat type disc brake which have more surface area touching the both sides of the disc with pads. They have initially better braking power. These type of brakes have no holes for heat dissipation. Even though its braking power is very high, it does not have a cooling system. It is the only disadvantage of the Normal type braking system.

Drilled type disc brake-

Drilled type disc brake consists of many holes in regular or irregular order. These holes are mainly used for the dissipation of heat produced when converting the kinetic energy in to heat energy. It is completely similar to Normal type disc brake but has small holes for the dissipation of heat. This is the major advantage of Drilled type disc brake.

Grooved type disc brake-

Disc brake with grooves must be installed in such a way that the groove must be spinning outwards. So any dust particles and filaments present in the grooves will come out which also helps in the dissipation of heat efficiently. These type of brakes are known as Grooved type disc brakes.

Dimpled type disc brakes-

Dimpled type disc brakes consists of small bulges or dimples on the disc brake which are used for the efficient heat dissipation and also it becomes easy for cleaning the disc. This type of disc brake is known as Dimpled type disc brake.

Combination type disc brake-

It is the combination of two disc brakes, Grooved type disc brake and Drilled type disc brake. These are very effective in use and are mostly used for high class vehicles where money is not a problem.
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This is about Disc Brake and its types.

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