Thermo-mechanical behaviour of heavy-duty disc brake systems
In heavy-duty disc brake systems, braking is a transient, non-linear and asymmetrical thermo-mechanical process. Surface cracking, rather than wear, is the major factor limiting the brake disc's life. The disc material (cast-iron), heat transfer boundary conditions and pad-disc frictional reactions are characteristically non-linear and asymmetrical during the friction process. Non-uniform deformation and surface cracks in brake discs result from the accumulation of excessive residual stress/strain. During braking processes, many factors affect the distributions of the residual stress and strain in discs, and hence the propagation of the surface cracks. The disc material, structure and boundary conditions are three of the crucial aspects. From the structure, a brake disc could be either solid or ventilated. In practice, solid structures always have higher anti-cracking performance than the same class of ventilated designs. However solid discs cost more material and have lower cooling efficiency. This thesis presents an improved finite element analysis for heavy-duty disc brakes and identifies design improvements. As the friction pads slide against the disc's surfaces continuously, the thermal and mechanical loads are functions of time and spatial coordinates. A 3-D asymmetrical finite element model was developed to achieve more accurate simulations of the thermo-mechanical behaviour of brake discs during braking processes. A non-linear inelastic material model for cast-iron was employed in the FE model. Permanent plastic stress and strain fields were predicted and analysed for multi-stop drag operations. The residual stress/strain fields in the discs are investigated to understand the differences between solid and ventilated discs in terms of the cracking resistance ability. Several engineering solutions are recommended for optimising the performance of the disc brake system. _ The thesis is organized in five chapters. Chapter One introduces the background concepts about the commercial disc brake system. In this part, the brake structure, material and previous researches are reviewed. The goals for this investigation are also summarised at the end of this chapter. Chapter Two introduces the general finite element modelling knowledge, procedures and the modelling boundary conditions and material models. Chapter Three presents an analysis of the disc brakes thermo-mechanical behaviour and the affecting factors. Chapter Four is focused on the residual stress field prediction and cracking behaviour analysis. The project conclusions and further research recommendations are presented in Chapter Five.