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Tribology International 34 (2001) 609615

A reduced-scale brake dynamometer for friction characterization

P.G. Sanders *, T.M. Dalka, R.H. Basch
Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, MI 48121-2053, USA

Friction behavior is a critical factor in brake system design and performance. For up-front design and system modeling it is
desirable to describe the frictional behavior of a brake lining as a function of the local conditions such as contact pressure, temperature, and sliding speed. Typically, frictional performance is assessed using brake dynamometer testing of full-scale hardware, and
the average friction value is then used for the remaining brake system development. This traditional approach yields a hardwaredependent, average friction coefficient that is unavailable in advance of component testing, ruling out true up-front design and
leading to redundant lining screening tests. To address this problem, a reduced-scale inertial brake dynamometer was developed to
determine the frictional characteristics of lining materials. Design of a reduced-scale dynamometer began with the choice of a
scaling relation. In this case, the energy input per unit contact area was held constant between full-scale and reduced-scale hardware.
All linear variables were thereby scaled by the square root of the scaling factor, while the pressure, temperature, sliding velocity,
and deceleration were kept constant. Experimental validation of the scaling relations and the reduced-scale dynamometer focused
on comparisons with full-scale dynamometer data, particularly the friction coefficient. If similar trends are observed between
reduced-scale and full-scale testing, the reduced-scale dynamometer will become an important tool in the up-front design and
modeling of brake systems. 2001 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.
Keywords: Brake; Dynamometer; Reduced-scale; Coefficient of friction

1. Introduction
Reduced-scale or reduced-sample friction testing has
the potential to decrease brake system development cost
and time. Historically, reduced-scale testing has been
used to compare friction materials for quality control,
lining development, and material property assessments.
For example, the friction assessment screening test
(FAST) was developed to screen the friction stability of
disk brake lining materials [1], while the Chase machine
was used to monitor drum brake lining materials [2].
Other reduced-scale devices have been designed to measure friction as a function of temperature, pressure, and
temperature by external control of these variables [3,4].
Generally, reduced-scale testing has not been utilized to
obtain quantitative data about friction material performance relative to real-world usage primarily because
reduced-scale test machines historically did not reproduce the operating conditions that the friction materials
experienced on vehicles.

* Corresponding author. Fax: +1-313-248-5322.

E-mail address: (P.G. Sanders).

0301-679X/01/$ - see front matter 2001 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.

PII: S 0 3 0 1 - 6 7 9 X ( 0 1 ) 0 0 0 5 3 - 6

The primary goal in the development of the current

reduced-scale brake dynamometer was to generate
accurate friction material data for use in brake system
design and lining screening. Brake system development
with computer-aided engineering (CAE) requires accurate friction coefficient (m) data; data that typically varies
as a function of local conditions such as pressure (P),
sliding velocity (vs), and temperature (T). Obtaining
accurate m (P, vs, T) data for modeling requires the elimination of effects related to the brake system hardware.
Many of the advantages of reduced-scale testing over
full-scale testing relate to hardware considerations.
Reduced-scale friction testing can produce more accurate and reproducible results by eliminating full-scale
hardware effects such as deflection of the caliper and
anchor bracket and local pressure variations resulting
from the piston/backing-plate interface. Friction coefficients generated by full-scale testing are an average of
the friction coefficient over the entire pad. The use of a
standard specimen size eliminates differences due to pad
geometry that are commonly present in full-scale testing,
while the small size ensures a more uniform pressure
distribution. Minimizing hardware variation generates
friction coefficient data that are more readily modeled
in terms of general, global variables such as P, vs, and T.


P.G. Sanders et al. / Tribology International 34 (2001) 609615

Another advantage of reduced-scale testing is that

friction materials can be tested easily without vehiclespecific fixtures and brake hardware. Such testing can
lead to reduced development time because friction
materials can be screened before other components in
the brake system have been developed. Surrogate hardware has typically been used in the past, but this convolves the friction data with additional hardware variables. The elimination of full-scale hardware effects
allows friction data to be used across vehicle lines. A
large database of friction material properties can be
developed and made available to all car lines to streamline the lining selection process.
This paper describes the development of a reducedscale dynamometer built by Link Engineering for the
Ford Research Laboratory. The dynamometer design and
scaling relations will be discussed, followed by validation of the friction material properties by comparing
full-scale and reduced-scale dynamometer results
obtained from two different lining materials. This validation process involved comparison of reduced-scale and
full-scale braking parameters such as pressure, temperature, torque, and friction coefficients. The friction coefficients are expected to be similar, although hardware
effects such as caliper deflection and uneven pad pressure distribution may influence the full-scale results.

has shown promising results when correlated with

vehicle performance [6,7]. The scale factor (S) is defined
as the ratio between the full-scale and reduced-scale pad
area. If the full-scale pad area is denoted by A and the
reduced-scale area by a, then


When distances are scaled, a factor of S1/2 is applied, as

shown in Table 2. Scaling relations for derived quantities
such as torque and inertia are obtained by propagating
these basic relationships through the calculation of
torque, inertia, and other test parameters. This process
will be illustrated for inertia, in which constant energy
density is explicitly included in the derivation. In all
cases, the upper-case variable is the full-scale parameter
and the lower-case variable is the reduced-scale variable.
The vehicle inertia (I) is defined as


where M is the vehicle mass and Rr is the rolling radius.

The energy per unit area (energy density) for one corner
is given by

2A s


where vs is the sliding velocity. Substituting M from Eq.

(2) into Eq. (3) one obtains

2. Scaling
One of the primary goals of reduced-scale testing is
to measure the friction coefficient as a function of sliding
velocity, pad pressure, and temperature. For this reason
it is critical to maintain a one-to-one relationship
between full-scale and reduced-scale testing with respect
to these parameters. Table 1 lists parameters that are the
same in full-scale and reduced-scale dynamometer testing.
Scaling the test parameters by the pad area is one way
to maintain the constant relationships, including constant
energy dissipation per unit area (energy density). The
Girling dynamometer [5] is a scaled version of a singleended dynamometer designed to have equivalent energy
dissipation per unit area. This energy density approach
Table 1
Constant parameters


1 vs
2A Rr


Equating the full-scale energy density Ea with the

reduced-scale energy density ea and simplifying yields
the following relation for the inertia ratio:

i a rr

I A Rr


Inserting the scaling factor (Eq. (1)) into Eq. (5) yields
I=iS 2, and this relation is included in Table 2.
Selecting a scaling factor is primarily dependent on
vehicle size and available effective radii on the reducedscale dynamometer. The scaling factor also impacts the
size of the reduced-scale pad, which is commonly cut
from a full-scale brake pad. Generally, a scaling factor
Table 2
Scaling relations







Sliding velocity
Pad pressure
Energy density
Disk temperature
Stop time



Pad area
Effective radius
Rolling radius
Linear velocity

kg m2

Re=reS 1/2
Rr=rrS 1/2
Vl=vlS 1/2
T=tS 3/2
I=iS 2

P.G. Sanders et al. / Tribology International 34 (2001) 609615


of approximately 10 is appropriate for cars, while a factor of 15 works well for light trucks.
By scaling the thermal mass it is possible to achieve
agreement between the temperature rise observed in
reduced-scale and full-scale braking events. For initial
correlation exercises, where full-size hardware was
already available, the thermal mass of the rotor was
determined by measuring the temperature rise during
typical stops on the full-scale dynamometer. Determining the thermal mass in this way includes heat dissipation by conduction into the mounting hardware. To
achieve the same temperature rise in the reduced-scale
stop, the mass of the disk was adjusted so that the calculated disk temperature rise (TfinalTinitial) matched that of
the rotor. The reduced-scale disk mass was calculated
using the predicted energy absorbed by the disk (e) from
the scaled kinetic energy dissipated and the temperaturedependent specific heat of cast iron, Cp(T) (Eq. (6)).
Conductive temperature losses in the reduced-scale test
are minimized through the use of a ceramic insulator
between the disk and the mounting hardware. For prototype testing, disk mass may be estimated by dividing the
prototype rotor mass by the scaling factor.
m T





Because the design of a reduced-scale friction machine

is significantly different than that of a full-scale dynamometer, the cooling rates of the reduced-scale disk and
the full-scale rotor are not equivalent. Stop simulations
initiated on the brake temperature are not affected by
this geometry change, but stops performed at fixed time
intervals can have dramatically different temperatures.
For fixed intervals, the time between stops on the
reduced-scale dynamometer must be adjusted to make
the initial brake temperature equivalent to the full-scale
test. The time between stops (t) for the reduced-scale
test machine can be calculated from the measured
exponential cooling coefficient (b) for the reduced-scale
hardware (Eq. (7)) and compared to the full-scale initial
and final temperatures. In Eq. (7), Tfinal1 refers to the
final temperature at the end of the previous stop and Tinitial denotes the initial temperature of the current stop. A
good estimate for prototype testing is that the reducedscale cycle time is about two-thirds that of the fullscale time:
Tinitial(Tfinal1TRT) exp[bt]TRT


The reduced-scale dynamometer built for Ford Motor

Company by Link Engineering (Fig. 1a) provides constant energy per unit pad area (energy density) as com-

Fig. 1. A full view of the reduced-scale dynamometer at Ford

Research Laboratory (a). Also included are close-ups of the cast iron
disk (b) and pad fixture (c) used for testing the semi-metallic lining
material. The thermocouple holes and wires are visible on the disk
and pads.


P.G. Sanders et al. / Tribology International 34 (2001) 609615

pared to the full-scale hardware. A scale factor of 1015

yields a disk and pad of manageable size while keeping
operating costs low. The reduced-scale dynamometer
uses a 90 mm diameter cast iron disk (Fig. 1b) with the
same composition and microstructure as that of the fullscale rotor. The fully-pearlitic cast iron disks have
graphite form VII, type A, and size 3 (longest flakes 25
50 mm at 100) [8]. The two pads are spaced 180 apart
and are applied on the same side of the disk (Fig. 1c).
The pad dimensions are approximately (depending on
scaling) 30 mm long by 15 mm wide with an effective
radius of 34 mm.

3. Experimental
Brake dynamometer testing was used to evaluate the
friction behavior of two lining materials: (1) a nonasbestos inorganic (NAO) or Japanese-type lining used
on a full-size car, and (2) a semi-metallic lining used on
a sport utility vehicle (SUV). Testing was first performed
with full-scale hardware on an inertial brake dynamometer. Next, parameters for the scaled tests were calculated from the vehicle and hardware parameters (Table
3), and scaled disks and pads fabricated. The same friction assessment test procedure was then run for each
lining on the reduced-scale dynamometer.
A Ford Motor Company brake dynamometer friction
assessment test procedure was used that is similar to
many industry-standard screening tests. This procedure
consists of approximately 100 burnish stops and 100
stops to assess pressure, temperature and speed sensitivity as well as fade performance and recovery. Burnish
stops are performed from an initial brake temperature
(IBT) of 80C at 0.25 and 0.15g decelerations. The temperature sensitivity stops, initiated at a range of IBTs,
and the velocity sensitivity stops, initiated at a range of
speeds, are all at a deceleration of 0.4g. The pressure
sensitivity stops from 80 kph are performed at line pressures from 10 to 80 bar. On the scaled dynamometer a
load cell replaces the hydraulic pressure apply system
used on full-scale dynamometers; load control set points

that achieve equivalent nominal contact pressure are programmed into the scaled dynamometer.

4. Results and discussion

The results will be presented as a comparison between
reduced-scale and full-scale dynamometer data. The
relations in Table 2 were used to convert the reduced
scale data into full-scale values for comparison. For both
lining materials, the same pressure-controlled and deceleration-controlled stops were chosen for analysis. The
constant pressure stop was at a line pressure of 60 bar,
an IBT of 80C, and an initial velocity of 80 kph, while
the constant deceleration stop had a deceleration of 0.4g
(3.9 m/s2), an IBT of 200C, and an initial velocity of
100 kph.
Constant pressure stop parameters are shown in Fig.
2 for the NAO and semi-metallic linings. For the NAO
lining (Fig. 2a) the pad pressure, torque, and m all agree
extremely well, demonstrating that the reduced-scale
dynamometer is capable of accurately reproducing the
conditions of full-scale testing. As expected, the disk
temperature is nearly the same in both tests (Fig. 2c).
(This parameter was fit using Eq. (6).) The pad temperature is consistently lower on the reduced-scale test, but
the effect on m was minor because m is not strongly temperature dependent in NAO materials.
The pressure-controlled stop with the semi-metallic
lining is shown in Figs. 2(b) and (d). Once again, the
pressure agrees well between the reduced-scale and fullscale dynamometers (Fig. 2b). However, m is lower in
the reduced-scale test and this leads to a lower torque
level. The disk temperature agreement is acceptable, but
the pad temperature is significantly lower on the
reduced-scale test (Fig. 2d). The lower lining temperature is due in part to the greater thermal conductivity of
the semi-metallic pad. Semi-metallic lining materials
have been observed to have greater batch-to-batch variability in friction coefficients and this may be one reason
for the discrepancy between the reduced-scale and fullscale stops. In addition, m generally rises with tempera-

Table 3
Brake dynamometer experimental parameters
Vehicle parameter


Corner weight (kg)

Rolling radius (mm)
Inertia (kg m2)
Scaling factor
Pad area (mm2)
Effective radius (mm)







P.G. Sanders et al. / Tribology International 34 (2001) 609615


Fig. 2. Constant pressure dynamometer stops (60 bar, 80C IBT, 80 kph) for NAO (a, c) and semimetallic (b, d) lining materials. Torque, pressure,
and friction coefficient are compared in (a, b) and velocity, disk temperature, and pad temperature are compared in (c, d). Curves depict full-scale
data and symbols show reduced-scale data.

ture for semi-metallics, so the lower pad temperatures in

the reduced-scale test may lead to a lower m.
The constant deceleration stops for the NAO and
semi-metallic lining materials are shown in Fig. 3. Link
dynamometers do not control the deceleration directly,
but rather attempt to maintain a constant torque level
calculated from the inertia and deceleration parameters.
The feedback loop involves measuring the torque and
adjusting the pressure to maintain the desired torque. For
the NAO material (Fig. 3a) the torque levels are similar
for both tests, with the reduced-scale dynamometer
showing more constant torque over time. The pad pressure levels are also of similar magnitude, but the reducedscale dynamometer varies the pressure more to maintain
the constant torque. Despite differences in torque control
effectiveness, the friction coefficients show good agreement. At 200C IBT, the disk and pad temperature profiles show acceptable agreement (Fig. 3c).
The semi-metallic material also shows good torque
agreement (Fig. 3b). As in the pressure controlled stop
above, m was lower for the reduced-scale lining material.
This led to higher pressures in deceleration control. The
disk temperature agreement was acceptable, but the pad

temperature was significantly lower in the reduced-scale

test (Fig. 3d). Once again, lower semi-metallic pad temperatures can contribute to the lower m observed during
this stop.
In Figs. 3(c) and (d) the NAO and semi-metallic
linings display shorter stop times for the reduced-scale
test. The reduced-scale dynamometer exhibits a high
level of parasitic drag from the thrust bearings used to
support the main shaft during braking. Without any
brake applied, the reduced-scale dynamometer coasts
from 100 to 0 kph in 50 s. This is equivalent to a fullscale torque level of about 100 N m at 100 kph (a large
fraction of the torque levels in Fig. 3). As mentioned
above, constant deceleration tests are controlled by
maintaining a constant torque calculated from the inertia
and the desired deceleration rate. Since parasitic drag is
not included in the calculation, its presence will lead to
shorter stop times. The effect is more noticeable at
slower deceleration rates (Fig. 3) than at higher deceleration rates (Fig. 2) in which the dynamometer drag is a
smaller fraction of the total braking torque.
The fade section in the test procedure consists of 15
stops from 100 to 0 kph at 0.4g deceleration. On the


P.G. Sanders et al. / Tribology International 34 (2001) 609615

Fig. 3. Comparison of constant deceleration dynamometer stops (0.4g, 200C IBT, 100 kph) for NAO (a, c) and semimetallic (b, d) lining
materials. Torque, pressure, and friction coefficient are compared in (a, b) and velocity, disk temperature, and pad temperature are compared in
(c, d). Curves depict full-scale data and symbols show reduced-scale data.

full-scale dynamometer there is 60 s between each stop.

For the reduced-scale dynamometer with semi-metallic
linings, a time of 37 s between each stop was calculated
using Eq. (7). The fade section for the semi-metallic
lining (Fig. 4) shows good agreement between the
reduced-scale and full-scale temperature traces.

Fig. 4. Fade temperature for semi-metallic lining material. The cycle

time was 60 s for the full-scale and 37 s for the reduced-yscale dynamometer.

Although the curves are not exactly the same shape, the
minimum and maximum temperatures show good agreement.
The average friction coefficients (averaged over the
whole test procedure excluding burnishes) are shown in
Table 4. There is good agreement for the NAO lining
material, although the variability is higher for the
reduced-scale testing. For the semi-metallic material, m
is always lower in reduced-scale tests, most likely as a
result of batch-to-batch lining variability and lower
pad temperatures.
To improve the reduced-scale tests, it is apparent that
machine drag, lining variability, and pad temperature
issues should be addressed. Programming the drive
motor to provide a small amount of power to the dynamometer during the stop can minimize the effects of
parasitic dynamometer drag. This additional energy will
compensate for the bearing drag, which is roughly a linear function of the rotational velocity. The lining variability can be assessed by careful attention to the lining
batch and the location from which the reduced-scale pad
is cut from the full-scale pad. The lining temperature
during reduced-scale testing was consistently low, particularly for higher conductivity, semi-metallic linings.

P.G. Sanders et al. / Tribology International 34 (2001) 609615


Table 4
Average friction coefficient














Improving the thermal insulation of the pad fixture can

minimize this discrepancy. Since lining variability and
pad temperature were found to be problems as a result
of this validation exercise, addressing these issues should
improve the agreement between reduced-scale and fullscale testing.

J.W. Fash initiated the reduced-scale dynamometer
work at Ford. R. Hasson did some of the early validation
exercises on the instrument and R. Mangan of Link
Engineering performed the reduced-scale measurements
reported in this paper.

5. Summary
Reduced-scale dynamometer data based on constant
energy density scaling has been compared to full-scale
dynamometer results. The agreement between dynamometer tests is excellent, especially for NAO materials
which exhibit minimal batch-to-batch friction variability.
Several areas for improvement were identified on the
reduced-scale dynamometer, including corrections for
parasitic drag and reducing the thermal conductivity of
the pad fixture. Overall, the data generated by the
reduced-scale dynamometer are highly correlated with
those from full-scale testing. The reduced-scale dynamometer promises to be an important lining screening
and design tool; friction coefficients can be determined
in advance of prototype hardware, enabling true up-front
CAE and friction behavior modeling.

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