Why are carbon-ceramic brakes so expensive?

Carbon-ceramic brakes can significantly improve performance, but they are much more expensive than conventional brakes. This Engineering explanation Why carbon-ceramic brakes are so expensive, and whether they are worth the extra cost is covered in the video.

Note that the video is sponsored by Brembo, a major manufacturer of both carbon-ceramic and conventional brakes, and the company’s products serve as props for host Jason Fensk.

One of the reasons for the high cost of carbon-ceramic brakes is the materials. Conventional brake rotors are made of iron, which is much cheaper than carbon. Since carbon-ceramic rotors usually last longer than conventional rotors, they also get higher-grade fasteners, Fenske noted.

Carbon-ceramic brakes are also much more complex to make. According to Brembo, the process takes about three weeks, compared to about 90 minutes for a conventional iron rotor. This is because the manufacturing process is not completely mechanical and requires some special equipment. Carbon ceramics are also a special product for racing and high-performance road cars, so they are sold at low volumes and cannot take advantage of the scale economy.

Carbon Ceramic Brake (from Engineering Explained Video)

Carbon Ceramic Brake (from Engineering Explained Video)

Still, there are reasons to spend extra money on carbon-ceramic brakes. They greatly reduce brake fades, for example, and weigh less than comparable iron rotors. The iron rotor shown in the video weighs 36.4 pounds while the carbon-ceramic rotor weighs only 16.5 pounds.

This low weight can have a big impact on performance due to where the brakes are located. The rotors rotate with the wheels, so their weight loss reduces rotational inertia, which can improve the acceleration time. Reducing the weight of the brake component also reduces the aspirin mass ভর a mass not supported by suspension — which can improve both grip and ride quality.

Carbon-ceramic rotors are also dimensionally stable, which means they will not deform at high temperatures and will produce brake juices. And since carbon-ceramic brakes have a long lifespan, owners usually don’t need to replace them over the lifetime of the car, Fensk says. The low wear rate of carbon ceramics also reduces brake dust, which can damage the wheels and is a source of air pollution.

Because of these advantages many automakers have made carbon-ceramic brakes the original equipment in their performance models. Although they are not a universal solution. The Ford Mustang did not use a carbon-ceramic rotor for the Shelby GT500, opted for a much larger conventional rotor, and Porsche indicated that carbon-ceramic brakes are not necessary for track use.

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