Source: Metal Matrix Innovations

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Metal Matrix Innovations (MMI), a Cleveland-based startup, is looking to solve many braking related issues with its new Alumatrix brake disc. The Alumatrix brake disc’s unique one-piece construction consists of an aluminum silicon carbide (Al-SiC) composite friction ring and a solid aluminum hat section. This new brake disc technology provides corrosion resistance, reduced particle emissions, increased durability and up to a 60% weight savings when compared to conventional cast iron.

With a strong background in ceramics and ties to the automotive industry, MMI saw a market opportunity in lightweight and sustainable braking components. Inspired by the work in metal matrix composite (MMC) materials, the company began its pursuit of a silicon carbide enhanced aluminum brake disc for passenger vehicles. The culmination of 10 years of research in MMC technology has resulted in the advanced manufacturing method behind the company’s Alumatrix brake discs.

Due to their aluminum construction, Alumatrix brake discs are rust free. Gone are the days of poor friction and brake noise on cast iron discs that have been rusted over due to environmental conditions. The issue of rust has become an even larger concern in electric vehicles due to regenerative braking and long periods of vehicle operation without the use of friction brakes. Alumatrix’s rust-free nature provides consistent brake feel and performance, as well as a cleaner look behind the wheel.

MMI has completed significant dynamometer testing with Alumatrix Prototypes completing 1,000+ high energy stops, thermocycling from 100 to 400oC. Testing has displayed increased pad life and no measurable disc wear. This means a reduction in particle emissions from pad and disc, as well as a cost savings with increased longevity for the consumer. Additionally, selectively enhancing only the braking surface keeps manufacturing costs low as the machining of hard silicon carbide is limited to locations where the increased wear resistance is necessary.

Boasting up to a 60 percent weight savings over grey cast iron, the Alumatrix discs have been thoroughly tested and shown to exhibit friction characteristics on par with current OEM requirements. The weight savings in rotational and unsprung components offered by this technology has a direct positive impact on vehicle performance, fuel efficiency and range, and NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness). The lightweight discs can also open the door for further weight savings in adjacent suspension components. With all of these benefits and reduced brake temperatures from regenerative braking, it is hard to deny the value of this technology.