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Published by: dwybagus20 on Nov 18, 2012
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A retarder is a device used to augment or replace some of the
functions of primary friction-based braking systems of heavy vehicles.

Friction-based braking systems are susceptible to 'fade' when
used extensively, and this can become dangerous if the braking
performance drops below that required to stop a vehicle for instance if a
lorry or coach is descending a long incline. For this reason, such heavy
vehicles are frequently fitted with a supplementary system that is not
Retarders are not restricted to road vehicles, but may also be used also
in railway systems.

The British prototype Advanced Passenger Train used hydraulic
retarders to allow the high-speed train to stop in the same distance as
standard lower speed trains, as a purely friction-based system was not

Retarders serve to slow vehicles down, or maintain a steady
speed on inclines. They are usually not capable of bringing vehicles to a
standstill, as their effectiveness diminishes at low speeds. They are
usually used to slow vehicles down, with the final braking being carried
out by a friction brake. As the friction brake does not then need to be
used so much, particularly at higher speeds, the service lifetime of
friction brakes is enhanced.

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