Automotive Brake Design

July 31, 2014

Every driver in Alabama understands the vast importance of an automobile’s brake design. Motorists across the country depend on their braking systems to stop their vehicle during regular travel and emergency situations. Without a properly functioning braking system, the driver is placed in an incredibly dangerous position. Understanding the braking system evolution is important. After reviewing the processes that came together to form the brake designs that we depend on today, motorists are able to gain an understanding and appreciation for one of the most essential parts on any vehicle.

While no one in particular is given credit for creating the first system of automotive brakes, it is clear that a moving object must come equipped with a stopping mechanism. Force must be applied to a vehicle in motion in order to stop the motion from occurring. Similar to most technologies, automobile brake designs have undergone quite an evolution to achieve the functionality and vehicle advancements. However, the braking system that we use today maintains a number of similarities to the first braking system ever introduced to the auto industry.

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Braking System Evolution

Similar to many technologies, the braking system evolution has been involved in a number of advancements over the years. With safety and efficiency at the forefront of all braking systems, new developments in technology and safety features have altered the way that braking systems are constructed over the last 100 years.

A variety of braking system methods have been utilized throughout the years, as they each build upon the technologies present in the previous method, they level of safety and efficiency increases. The following methods outline the braking system evolution that has provided stopping mechanisms for automobiles since their inception.


Wooden Block Brake

The very first braking system, the wooden block brake, contained a block of wood and a lever. Used for automobiles with steel rimmed wheels, the vehicle operator would pull on the level which would in turn press down the block of wood against the wheels, causing the car to slow down. While this system was successful upon introduction, once the rubber tire was introduced it no longer worked.


Mechanical Drum Brake

The mechanical drum brake hit the auto industry in the early 1900s. Using a supple stainless-steel band wrapped around a drum close to the rear axle, this braking system applied pressure to the drum which caused the car to stop. Due to issues with the band, frequent brake replacements, and the fact that the drum brakes were external caused the system to evolve for improvement.


Hydraulic Drum Brake

To address the above issues, the hydraulic drum brake was introduced to the auto market in 1918. Malcolm Lougheed invented the braking system, which used hydraulic fluid through tubes toward the brake drum. The fluid would then be pushed against the interior lining the drum and slow the car down. Nevertheless, as heat began to build up the brakes were warped and vibrations were caused. These issues sparked the need for further development of the braking system evolution.


Disc Brake

Also developed in the 1900s, the disc brake was made from iron and used to stop a moving vehicle. In this process, the disc is squeezed by the brake pads by a caliper (pressured by hydraulic fluid). While this braking system was popular in the 1950s, it was temporarily dropped due to issues with ease of use for the driver, the disc braking system found great success in the United States.


Anti-Lock Brakes

Anti-lock brakes (ABS) are used today to help the above braking systems from locking up. When the vehicle senses that a lock is about to occur, hydraulic valves are used to cause a reduction in the braking on that particular wheel. ABS is essential to providing greater control for all motorists.


Contact an Experienced Alabama Auto Accident Lawyer Today

The automobile industry has come a long way since the introduction of the wooden block brake. Improvements have helped to reduce accidents and increase the level of safety on all vehicles traveling the roads today. Unfortunately, however, there are still many situations where an auto accident is caused by the negligence of another driver. In these cases, it is essential to contact Citrin Law Firm.

Our Alabama personal injury attorneys have dedicated their lives to helping the people of Alabama. Through hard work, years of experience, and a vast legal knowledge, we are able to help accident victims in Alabama to seek the justice that they deserve.

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