Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in the past due to its unique properties. It is heat-resistant, durable, and has excellent insulating properties. These properties made it a popular material for use in a wide range of products, including brake pads for cars and other vehicles. In this article, we will explore why asbestos was used in brake pads and why it is no longer used today.
Why was Asbestos Used in Brake Pads?
Asbestos was used in brake pads for several reasons. First, it was a very effective material for reducing noise and vibration. When brakes are applied, the friction between the brake pads and the rotor can create noise and vibration. Asbestos was able to absorb this energy, reducing noise and vibration and providing a smoother ride.
Second, asbestos was an excellent material for withstanding high temperatures. When brakes are applied, they generate a significant amount of heat due to friction. Asbestos was able to withstand these high temperatures without degrading or breaking down, making it an ideal material for use in brake pads.
Finally, asbestos was very durable and had a long lifespan. This meant that brake pads made with asbestos lasted longer and needed to be replaced less frequently than those made with other materials. This was a significant advantage for manufacturers and consumers alike.
Why is Asbestos No Longer Used in Brake Pads?
While asbestos was a popular material for use in brake pads for many years, it is no longer used today. This is due to the fact that asbestos is a highly toxic substance that can cause serious health problems, including lung cancer and mesothelioma, when inhaled.
Asbestos fibers can become airborne during the manufacturing process, during installation or removal of brake pads, or when the brakes are used and the pads wear down. When inhaled, these fibers can become lodged in the lungs and cause scarring and inflammation over time, leading to serious health problems.
Due to the serious health risks associated with asbestos exposure, many countries and states have banned the use of asbestos in brake pads and other products. Today, brake pads are typically made from materials such as ceramic, metallic, or organic compounds, which are safer and less harmful to the environment. While the use of asbestos may have been beneficial in the past, it is important to prioritize safety and avoid the use of harmful materials whenever possible.