An investigation into heavy vehicle drum brake squeal
Many mechanisms have been suggested for brake squeal over many years. In order to identify the most appropriate of these mechanisms, an experimental investigation has been carried out to define in detail the vibration characteristics of a squealing heavy vehicle air operated drum brake on both a vehicle and a laboratory brake test rig. This required the development of a novel 'scanning' technique for the modal analysis of the rotating drum, which showed the presence of well-defined complex wavelike modes. From these results, the dynamic behaviour of the drum, in particular, is found to be in good qualitative agreement with the predictions of a simple 'binary flutter' mechanism of squeal. Based on the role of rotor symmetry in this mechanism, a means of decoupling, flutter modes is developed involving a reduction in the rotational symmetry of the drum by means of attaching masses in a defined pattern at its periphery. It is shown theoretically that such decoupling would be expected to increase the dynamic stability of the brake, and experimental application of the technique confirms its effectiveness in reducing or eliminating squeal. Practical design aspects of reducing the rotational symmetry of the drum are considered, using finite element modelling, and it is also shown that the technique can be effective in other types of vehicle brake, such as disc brakes and hydraulic drum brakes. The simple lumped parameter models used in the above work are inadequate as brake design tools, however, and so a novel application of finite element modelling is used to extend the principle of the binary flutter mechanism to a more detailed model of a complete brake. This is shown to be capable of predicting known features of squeal and may be used as a brake design tool for both the brake structure and the friction material.