New technology is great, who does not love the easy staring and clean burning that fuel injection provides? Cars are cleaner than ever. In some ways.
Copper.Iron,antimony, and barium. I use it almost every day, When I am done with it I dump mine into our lakes in streams.
Yes I do.
You do it to.
Every time we tap on the brakes we send a toxic cloud of heavy metals flying from a spinning ,metal disc,some being caught by our wheels to later corrode them. Some is breathed in by pedestrians and passing motorists. The rest thrown on the road, much like a discarded candy wrapper carelessly pitched out the window by a raging litterbug.
Yes folks, our brakes our the modern day litterbugs of the road, and once it rains the accumulation of all that brake dust makes its way into our waterways after being washed into storm sewers and the like. Millions of pounds a year. Millions.
Here is a good article detailing the catastrophic accumulation of copper in San Francisco bay affecting the salmon.
It doesn’t affect me you say? Its those crazy California people again. Wrong. It affects all 50 states.
We need to start paying more attention to this source of air and water pollution, especially because it won’t be solved by a switch to plug-in hybrids or electric vehicles. Brake pad dust might be much lower because these mostly brake with regenerative braking, which doesn’t use brake pads most of the time, but tire and brake dust will remain a problem.
If there was only a way to capture most of that dust. Surely some clever engineer will figure something out. Wait a minute, they already have. 100 years ago!
As we all know drum brakes have some drawbacks, but anyone can see they are the more environmentally friendly choice.
They do not throw their heavy metal waste on the road like some kind of crazed litter bug like disc brakes do. Instead Drum brakes, being good environmental stewards,capture much of the discarded brake dust in the drums so it can be sequestered by the service technician using a brake parts washer.
Just get rid of copper in brake pad Rick you say.
Copper performs several functions: it adds structural integrity to the brake pad material, reduces fade so that brakes remain effective through extended braking events, transfers heat efficiently, and helps brakes be more effective in cold weather. Copper also has properties that help prevent brakes from squeaking and shuddering when they are used, which is very important for car customer satisfaction and keeping warranty costs low.
Besides, lets say they figure out materials to replace copper in our brake pads, who is to say that will not create its own set of environmental difficulties, and is it really good form to carelessly throw our brake pad waste on the ground? Are we not more civilized than that?
There is also rubber dust which is an issue, but for now I chose to focus on a major source of pollution with a simple proven answer.
I know this might anger some folks, but it definitely made me think.
Is it possible we will see the return of drum brakes due to environmental regulations? It certainly is one possibility. What are the others?