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The following is excerpted from David J. Cross’s article posted by AZO Materials, an organization with the mission of educating and informing “a worldwide audience of researchers, engineers and scientists with the latest industry news, information and insights from the Materials Science industry.” Here he reviews and discusses a new study on developing eco-friendly brake pads.

Turin, Italy – A team of researchers at the Institute of Sciences and Technologies for Sustainable Energy and Mobility (STEMS), Turin, Italy, have published a report in the journal Sustainability on potential eco-friendly materials that could be used in the production of brake pads.

Traffic-related sources have been established as a major contributor of particulate matter (PM), specifically within major cities, raising an eco-awareness about the need to develop green products and materials for use in-vehicle components. A strategy that is deemed vital to reducing pollution in tandem with ushering in new, stringent regulations aimed at preventing the environment from further damage.

The new study follows on from relatively recent environmental regulations that stipulate brake systems should produce low-polluting compounds as PM in the nonexhaust category is primarily emitted by friction materials.

“In 1987, the WHO developed quality guidelines, followed by updates in 1997 and in 2006, recommending maximum levels of several critical air pollutants that can have negative effects on human health,” explains the paper’s co-author Giovanna Gautier di Confiengo of STEM.

Particulate Matter

Particulate matter (PM), also known as particle pollution, is a term for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. There are a number of particles that are large or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye while others are microscopic and require special equipment to detect.

In a separate study, it was observed that around 35% of brake pad mass lost from braking ends up airborne with around 18% of particulate matter being carbonaceous making it a risk to both human health and the environment.

As the global consciousness shifts towards developing green solutions such as the wider adoption and acceptance of electric vehicles (EVs), the number of vehicles on the road continues to increase in line with population growth. Like all other vehicles, electric vehicles also emit particulate matter (PM) from tire and brake wear, which can contribute to respiratory disease.

Furthermore, due to the increased weight of EVs, they are thought to emit more friction particles from braking at higher levels than conventional vehicles. While the benefit of adopting EV technology to help reduce exhaust emission is unquestionable, researchers believe that improving and developing green materials for use in all vehicles could further improve PM levels in the air.

To view the entire post by Cross on AZO Materials, with links to supporting materials and additional images, click HERE.

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Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.