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Temperature in a disk brake, simulation and experimental verification

Leszek Wawrzonek (Institute of Thermal Technology, Silesian University of Technology, Gliwice, Poland)
Ryszard A. Białecki (Institute of Thermal Technology, Silesian University of Technology, Gliwice, Poland)

International Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat & Fluid Flow

ISSN: 0961-5539

Article publication date: 22 May 2008



This paper seeks to develop a reliable simulation technique and experimental equipment applicable to thermal analysis of disk brakes. The application is focused on safety issues arising in coal mines and other hazardous explosive environments.


The experimental rig provides data on the friction power generated by the disk‐pad pair for a user‐defined squeezing force program. The developed software predicts the temperature field in the brake and pad. The code is based on the finite volume approach and is formulated in Lagrangian coordinates frame.


In the circumferential direction advection due to the rotation of the disk dominates over the conduction. The energy transfer problem could be formulated in a Lagrange coordinates system as 2D. A novel approach to the estimation of the uncertainty of numerical simulations has been proposed. The technique is based on the GUM methodology and uses sensitivity coefficients determined numerically. Very good agreement of simulated and measured values of temperature in the brake has been found.

Research limitations/implications

The results apply for simple disk and pad geometries for which the correlations of the Nusselt number versus Reynolds and Prandtl are known. Moreover, the model should not be used in the last braking period where the assumption of negligible circumferential conduction is not applicable. Though the code models a situation of constant rotation speed, the deceleration profile of the disk can readily be accounted for. The next step of the research should be to couple the heat conduction in the brake with CFD simulation of the surrounding air.

Practical implications

The highest temperature in the system is at the pad‐disk interface. The depth of penetration of the temperature into the disk is relatively low. The heat dissipation from the disk is controlled by convection.


The novelty of the paper is in the simplified and robust simulation model of the brake, the concept of the experimental rig and the methodology of uncertainty assessment. The developed methodology can be useful to researchers and industry involved in safety investigations and determining safety standards, specifically in explosive atmospheres. It may also be of interest to the automotive industry.



Wawrzonek, L. and Białecki, R.A. (2008), "Temperature in a disk brake, simulation and experimental verification", International Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat & Fluid Flow, Vol. 18 No. 3/4, pp. 387-400.



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