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Computers and Structures 72 (1999) 185198

Contact analysis for drum brakes and disk brakes using

C. Hohmann*, K. Schiner, K. Oerter, H. Reese
Institute of Engineering Mechanics and Control Engineering, University of Siegen, Paul-Bonatz Str. 911, Fachbereich 11,
Mashinentechnik, 57076, Siegen, Germany

Brakes in cars and trucks are safety parts. Requirements not only in performance but also in comfort,
serviceability and working lifetime are high and rising. Optimal design of today's brake systems is found using
additional calculations based on nite element methods. For both types of brake systems, drum brakes and disk
brakes, the dierent parts of brakes, i.e. the brake pad with the friction material, the counter body and calliper, can
be modelled. Two examples are given in this paper: a drum brake of a trailer and a typical disk brake used in
passenger cars. The main problem to be solved is the calculation of the distribution of contact forces between brake
pad and counter body (drum or disk). The contact problem includes friction and is solved using the ADINA 7.1
sparse solver. After the brake pressure is applied, the turning moment on the axle rises constantly until the drum or
disk respectively changes from sticking to sliding condition. It is shown that the sparse solver is highly ecient for
this sophisticated nonlinear problem. Results include deformation, stress distribution, contact pressure and showing
which regions of the contact area are in sticking or sliding condition. # 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights

1. Introduction

1.1. Brake construction

Brakes in cars are expected to work properly with a
minimum amount of service. The purpose of brakes is
to reduce the velocity or to maintain it when the vehicle is driving downhill. Without brakes it would not
be possible to control the speed of the vehicle.
Nevertheless the design of brakes is generally underestimated. In brakes high amounts of energy are transformed during short periods. This is underlined by the

* Corresponding author. Fax: +49-271-7402436.

fact, that often the braking power is several times

higher than the power of the engine.
In cars and trucks dierent types of braking systems
are used. In this paper only wheel brakes based on
friction are considered. Generally two design forms are
used: disk and drum brakes. The demands made by
the vehicle industry are strict. The requirements will
also rise with future development of lighter and more
economical cars. This supports the need for ecient
methods of calculating brake systems. The nite element method is an ideal tool for this purpose. It is
suited for analysis of both stress and temperature. In
this paper the contact problem is described for disk
brakes and drum brakes. For example a drum brake
used in trucks and a disk brake used in small passenger cars are presented.

0045-7949/99/$ - see front matter # 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S 0 0 4 5 - 7 9 4 9 ( 9 9 ) 0 0 0 0 7 - 3


C. Hohmann et al. / Computers and Structures 72 (1999) 185198

Fig. 1. Frequently used types of friction brakes: (a) disk brake and (b) drum brake.

In order to transfer the kinetic energy of the vehicle

into heat, friction brakes are commonly used at each
wheel of the vehicle. The area of contact is the origin
of the heat sources. Cooling surfaces emit heat into the
environment. Nevertheless the temperatures can get as
high as 9008C (16508F) at the contact area.
For proper operation the following criteria have to

be considered
. high and stable coecient of friction;
. good thermal capacity;
. good wear resistance of the tribo system (brake linings and disk respectively drum);
. mechanical resistance of material;

Fig. 2. Transmission of forces in a brake system [1].

C. Hohmann et al. / Computers and Structures 72 (1999) 185198


Fig. 3. Normal pressure distribution, assumed by Koessler (a), for a new (b) and an old lining (c).

. weight optimized construction;

. and use of environmental suited materials.
Despite dierent geometric design (see Fig. 1), both
types of brakes use the same principle to create the
braking force: xed brake shoes are pressed against a
rotating counter body. Due to friction the brake force
is acting contrary to the motion of the counter body
thereby reducing its velocity. The resulting friction
force is proportional to the normal force N and the
coecient of friction m. The brake parameter C  is
dened as the relation between friction forces and the
applied force and is used in the comparison of dierent
brake designs.
A typical brake used in cars consists of the operating
device (pedal or hand lever), the transfer unit and the
wheel brake (Fig. 2). For disk and drum brakes the
normal force N is applied, using mechanical, pneumatic or hydraulic transfer units. A servo unit raises
the force FBet applied by the driver:
N iA FBet

The factor iA is the total transmission ratio of the

brake. The friction force R=mN acts on the rubbing
surface. The distance between the friction force and
the centre of revolution is the eective radius re. The
origin of the friction force for disk brakes is approximately the middle of the friction surface, depending on
the shape of the friction area. In the case of drum
brakes the eective radius is the inner radius of the
Ecient software and hardware is needed for the

simulation of complete brake systems. ADINA

Version 7.1 simplies the construction of the complex
three-dimensional structures together with providing
reliable algorithms for the solution of the contact problem. Using the sparse solver the calculation time is
reduced signicantly.

2. Design of drum brakes

2.1. Analytical calculation
The analytical calculation of drum brakes is based
on the assumptions of Koessler [2,3]. He describes the
distribution of the normal pressure between drum and
brake linings with cosine functions (see Fig. 3a). The
assumed distribution only ts if the curvatures of the
brake lining and of the drum are equal. The radius of
the brake lining is changed during operation due to
wear. This results in irregular distributions of the contact pressure, which are shown in Fig. 3b and c.
At each point of the contact area the coecient m of
sliding friction is constant. The distributed friction
forces are caused by the pressure and are proportional
to the coecient of sliding friction:
dR m dN

The braking moment can be calculated with the distance r of the contact point to the centre of revolution.
The summated friction forces make up the peripheral
force R1 for the leading shoe and R2 for the trailing
shoe. Both act against the rotation of the drum with


C. Hohmann et al. / Computers and Structures 72 (1999) 185198

Fig. 4. Applied forces and reaction forces for the trailing shoe (a), and normal and tangential pressure for a contact point (b).

the lever arm r:




dR, R2



The brake shoes are spread by a rotation of the S-cam

clamping device. Therefore the forces S1 and S2 act

upon the rolls (Fig. 4a). They are in balance with the
normal pressure and peripheral pressure acting on the
lining surfaces (Fig. 4b) and the resulting forces F1 and
F2 acting at the bolts. The static conditions for equilibrium can be formulated for each direction (x, y and
a ) and both brake shoes in the form:

Fig. 5. Parts of an S-cam driven drum brake and FEM discretization.


Fig. 6. Boundary conditions and applied displacements.

C. Hohmann et al. / Computers and Structures 72 (1999) 185198


C. Hohmann et al. / Computers and Structures 72 (1999) 185198

Fig. 7. Time functions for the spreading of the shoes (a) and rotation of the drum (b).

S1 cos g1


dNx 1




S2 cos g2

dNx 2



dNy 1



S2 sin g2

dNy 2

dRy 2 F2 sin d2 0


S1  c

r  dR F1  a 0

S2  c

r  dR F2  a 0


These equations have to be solved for both shoes. The

solution of the integrals results in a relationship
between applied forces and the braking moment. With
a0=a1+a2 the brake parameter C  is:

C  1 5.0

2.2. Finite element calculation

dRy 1 F1 sin d1 0


C  1 2.0 C  1 3.0

The nite element model is used, to calculate a more

realistic distribution of the contact pressure, considering the elastic deformations of both the linings and the

dRx 2 F2 cos d2 0


S1 sin g1

Brake parameter:

dRx 1 F1 cos d1 0

f a0
R1 R2
m with

S1 S2
a0 2 2 r
f a0

a0 sina0

f a0
4 sin a0

Type of drum brake: Simplex Duo-duplex Duo-servo

2.2.1. Description of the model

A complete three-dimensional structure of the drum
brake has to be modelled. The nite element model
consists of three independent parts: the drum, the leading shoe and the trailing shoe (see Fig. 5). All parts,
with the exception of the brake linings, are made of
steel. Normally the brake linings are riveted to the
brake shoe. In the model, however, uniform connection between lining and shoe is considered. Three
dimensional elements with eight nodes are used to
model the solids. The denitions of nodes and elements
are created with the PATRAN-preprocessor. A
FORTRAN program translates the node and element
lists for ADINA-IN. Contact areas are dened for the
rubbing faces of the drum and the four lining pad surfaces.
The xed bolts are modelled with truss elements.
This enables the brake shoes to rotate around the xed
bolts (see Fig. 6). The complete S-cam clamping device
is neglected in this model. Since the S-cam provides
straight spreading of the brake shoes, displacements
are applied to the centre points of the rolls. The rolls
are also modelled with truss elements. The correlation
between S-cam rotation and the displacements of the
rolls is given by the manufacturer. The connection
between the rolls and the shoes is also modelled using
truss elements.
2.2.2. Solution technique
Although the mesh is quite coarse, the number of
nodes is as high as 22,000. Although a static analysis is
performed this is a large scale problem. The model is
loaded in two intervals, Fig. 7. In the rst interval the

C. Hohmann et al. / Computers and Structures 72 (1999) 185198


Fig. 8. Skew system (a) for the denition of prescribed displacements (b) for drum rotation.

brake shoes are spread for an initial contact between

the brake linings and the drum. The value and angle
of the displacements are dened by the geometry of
the S-cam.
After the spreading of the shoes, the drum is rotated
in the second interval. Again displacements are used to
describe the rotation. For the nodes at the ange of
the drum, skew systems are dened and the displacements in the radial and the axial directions are xed
(Fig. 8). The drum is still a free system with respect to
the rotation. In order to avoid a singular system stiness matrix, for the nodal points of the drum ange

displacements are prescribed in the circumferential

2.2.3. Results of the drum brake analysis
Deformation of the drum and the brakes shoes is
calculated using ADINA Version 7.0. The results are
shown in respect to the rotated drum. Figs. 9 and 10
show the contact forces on the brake linings. The contact surfaces are laid out from the bolt end to the end
close to the rolls. It can be seen, that the contact forces
have a non-uniform distribution which diers from the
assumed distribution of the analytic solution by

Fig. 9. Distribution of contact forces on the trailing shoe.


C. Hohmann et al. / Computers and Structures 72 (1999) 185198

Fig. 10. Distribution of contact forces on the leading shoe.

Fig. 11. Eective stresses for the drum in N/mm2.

C. Hohmann et al. / Computers and Structures 72 (1999) 185198


Fig. 12. Eective stresses for both brake shoes in N/mm2.

Koessler [2]. High peaks are apparent at the top end

of the lining, especially on the trailing shoe, close to
the roll. The distribution of the contact pressure tends
to that of the old lining shown in Fig. 3c for the analytic solution.
Furthermore the reaction forces at the xed bolts
and the rolls are compared with the results of the analytic calculation for the supporting forces F and S.
Although the magnitudes of the supporting forces
match, the angles of the forces do not correspond to
the results of the analytical approach given by
Koessler [2].
Since the calculated contact situation is dierent
from the assumed contact situation in the analytic theory, the supporting forces of the two situations also
dier. Reaction forces are also gained at the nodes of
the drum, for which displacements are prescribed.
These reaction forces are used to calculate the braking
Drum deformations and eective stresses are shown
in Fig. 11. The stresses are low because of the massive
construction of the drum. Nevertheless, it is not overdimensioned because most of the heat generated by
friction is transferred into the drum. Maximum stresses

at the shoes (Figs. 12 and 13) are higher than those of

the drum. The shown stress distribution can be used in
optimizing the structure of the shoes.

2. Design of disk brakes

3.1. Analytical calculation
Unlike the drum brake, the friction surfaces of disk
brakes are planar. The main advantage of the disk
brake is that the heat can be transferred into the environment directly over the free surfaces of the disk
[4]. Further improvements for the heat convection are
gained by ventilation channels or holes in the friction
ring. However, in this example a solid disk is considered.
Normal forces are generated by the hydraulic pressure in order to press the brake pads against the disk.
The piston presses the pad against the disk. A reaction
takes place where the calliper transfers the force to the
pad on the other side of the disk (Fig. 13). The normal
force for each pad is


C. Hohmann et al. / Computers and Structures 72 (1999) 185198

Fig. 13. Finite element model of the disk brake (calliper in sectional drawing).

N p K  AK

The tangential stress generated on the friction surface

results in the friction forces on each side of the disk.
With the coecient m of friction, this force is

As the friction forces act on both sides of the disk, the

brake parameter C  for this type of brakes is



3.2. FEM calculation

3.2.1. Model
The nite element model consists of the disk, the
calliper and the two brake pads (see also Watson and
Newcomb [5]). The geometry is taken directly from the
part and the model is created using the geometric elements provided by ADINA-IN. Mapped meshing is
used to create the element mesh of the disk. For the
complex structures of the pads and the calliper a free

formed mesh with a sucient density is constructed.

The entire mesh consists out of parabolic three-dimensional-solid elements (21 nodes for one brick element).
Linear elastic material models are used for both the
lining material and the brake parts which are made of
steel. The lining is glued to the supporting plates of
the pads by the pressing process.
The calliper as well as the brake pads are free to
move in the axial direction. Together they are guided
by bolts through the sprocket holes and grooves at the
sides of the supporting plate. By this means they press
against the supporting structure of the steering knuckle
which is not modelled with nite elements but simulated by boundary conditions. The grooves and the
sprocket holes are represented by nodes xed in the
directions perpendicular to the axial direction. Since
the disk is free to rotate, it is xed to a point on the
axle by beam elements with high stiness.
For the contact surfaces on the linings and the friction ring of the disk a friction coecient of m=0.4 is
dened. Although in experiments dierent values for
static and sliding friction are found, in the calculation
the value is constant due to program restrictions.

C. Hohmann et al. / Computers and Structures 72 (1999) 185198


Fig. 14. Eective stresses in N/m2 for an applied brake pressure.

3.2.2. Solution technique

Again the structure is loaded in two intervals. First
the hydraulic pressure is applied on the brake pad and
the calliper (Time=1.00). In the detail of Fig. 13 one
can see the surfaces on which the pressure is applied.
In the second interval (time=2.00) the disk is rotated
about the axis. The second interval corresponds to the
situation of a vehicle with an automatic transmission
stopping with the gear switched in driving position.
The motor moment is acting against the braking
moment. When the motor moment is higher than the
braking moment the car begins to move. The rotation
is prescribed about the centre point of the beam structure. The beam structure transfers the rotation to the
Since the calliper and the pads are free to move in

the axial direction, truss elements with low stiness are

applied in order to avoid rigid body movement. These
elements do not alter the results but make the stiness
matrix positive denite. They also stabilize the process
of nding contact in the rst load step.
For this problem the sparse solver with automatic
time stepping is used. The time steps have to be very
small, especially at the start and the end of the rst
interval (application of brake pressure).
3.2.3. Results
The sparse solver is very ecient. Contact is found
easily for the plain surfaces of the linings and the disk.
The eective stress and the contact pressure are compared for two states. The rst state is after application
of the brake pressure. Maximum stress occurs at the


C. Hohmann et al. / Computers and Structures 72 (1999) 185198

Fig. 15. Eective stresses in N/m2 for an applied brake pressure and a rotated disk.

calliper as it is bent (Fig. 14). This causes higher contact pressure at the outer radius of the linings (Fig.
16). For the second interval the disk is rotated, thereby
pressing the brake pads against the guidance of the
steering knuckle (boundary conditions). This results in
higher stresses in the supporting plate of the brake
pads (Fig. 15). First the disk sticks to the linings. An
analysis of node displacements of lining and disk surfaces reveals that they are moved together. This condition is called static friction. The static friction forces
H at each contact node are always smaller than the
dened friction forces R for sliding friction:

After the disk is rotated through a certain angle, the

disk breaks free. The peripheral forces have then

reached the limit dened by the coecient of friction

(H=R ). Fig. 17 shows that the contact pressure
changes [6]. The exact point of change from sticking to
sliding condition can be found. Fig. 18 marks the
dierent regions of the contact surface as well as dening their condition. Depending upon the load step,
regions of the lining surface are shown which are still
in a sticking condition and those which are in a sliding
condition. This is achieved by band plotting of the
resultant dened in the following way:

friction force
contact force


In the case of sliding, this condition is equal to the

coecient of friction input for m in ADINA-IN. This

C. Hohmann et al. / Computers and Structures 72 (1999) 185198

Fig. 16. Contact pressure in N/m2 for an applied brake pressure.

Fig. 17. Contact pressure in N/m2 for an applied brake pressure and a rotated disk.



C. Hohmann et al. / Computers and Structures 72 (1999) 185198

Fig. 18. Contact areas in sticking or sliding condition for a certain time step.

analysis is the basis for dynamic calculations of friction-induced vibrations.

4. Conclusion
Only a short introduction into the fundamentals of
brake constructions is presented in this paper. The
basic formulas for the analytic calculation are given
for dierent brake types. Drum and disk brakes are
modelled with nite elements using ADINA-IN. It is
possible to import lists of nodal coordinates and element denitions, which are created using a preprocessor such as PATRAN. It is more exible to use the
geometry denitions provided by ADINA-IN.
The correct calculation of contact is essential for the
design of friction brakes. The sparse solver implemented in ADINA Version 7.1 reduces job duration
time of these large models to a few hours (DEC Alpha
Server 4000). The reduction of elapsed time makes it
possible to investigate the eect of altering design variables.
The presented results are a small overview of what is
possible. In particular the detailed analysis of the
change from stick to shift is a step in understanding
the friction process. Additional friction laws which distinguish between the coecient of static friction and of
sliding friction would be a helpful tool for investigating

stick/slip problems. Consideration of dynamic eects

will be possible with more powerful hardware in the
near future.
Thermal analysis can also be performed using these
models in ADINA-T. The coupling of thermal and
elastomechanical calculations is a great advantage of
the ADINA system.
[1] Wallentowitz H. Langsdynamik von Kraftfahrzeugen.
Vorlesungsumdruck Kraftfahrzeugtechnik II. Institut fur
Automobiltechnik, 1997.
[2] Koessler P. Berechnung von Innenbacken-Bremsen fur
Kraftfahrzeuge. Stuttgart: Franckh'sche, 1957.
[3] Koessler
Originalausgabe. Munchen: Heine, 1985.
[4] Day AJ, Newcomb TP. The dissipation of frictional
energy from the interface of an annular disk brake. Proc
Inst Mech Engng 1984;198D(11):2019.
[5] Watson C, Newcomb TT. A three-dimensional nite element approach to drum brake analysis. Proc Inst Mech
Engng, D: J Automobile Engng 1990;204(D2):93101.
[6] Tirovic M, Day AJ. Disk brake interface pressure distribution. Proc Inst Mech Engng, D: J Automobile Engng