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General Instructions:
Some animations are provided within the same directory as this Handout(For better
understanding). The animations are shockwave objects (.swf) and will require flash
player to run. In case flash player is not installed in your machine, you can play them
in browsers too.
Some questions are intentionally left unanswered. Readers are advised to apply their
own logic to find the answers. These can be asked in quizzes or interviews.
Terms with an asterisk(*) are left for the reader to explore themselves.
Basic concepts:
Pascals law: pressure exerted anywhere in a confined incompressible fluid is
transmitted equally in all directions throughout the fluid such that the pressure
variations (initial differences) remain the same.
Newtons law: F= ma
Principal of Leverage:

Principal of Hydraulic multiplication: It is a direct application of Pascals law.

Law of friction: Frictional force=N.
Working of disc brakes:

A typical Brake system is shown in above two Figures a) idle and b) applied. The assembly contains five
main components: brake pedal (works on the principal of leverage), master cylinder, brake lines,
calliper and rotor. Brake fluid is filled in the lines and the pistons. When the driver presses the pedal
with a force F and it travels a distance d, then a force of 4F with a travel of d/4 is applied on the
master cylinder. This change in pressure is further transmitted to brake callipers through brake lines.
A brake calliper is basically a simple piston arrangement with a brake pad at the end for increased
coefficient of friction. The force is further multiplied 9 times and becomes 36F whereas travel
becomes d/36. This force is the normal reaction for the frictional force which brings the rotor to rest.
But things are a bit more complex than this.

Master Cylinder:
The master cylinder is not just a single piston cylinder. It has two separate pistons with their separate
fluid reservoir and each one is connected to two wheels through brake lines. It is done so because in
case of a leak in any one of the brake lines, only one half of the braking system fails, Enabling the other
half to provide stopping force to avoid accident.

Depressing the brake pedal causes both the primary and the secondary pistons to move forward and
exert hydraulic pressure independently in the primary and secondary brake systems. When the
primary piston moves forward, it blocks off the compensating port and seals the fluid in front of it. As
it continues to advance, it transmits fluid pressure to the primary hydraulic circuit as well as to the
secondary (slave) piston. The secondary piston moves forward and blocks off its compensating port. It
seals the fluid in front of it and transmits fluid pressure to the rear wheel cylinders. Lets see what
happens in case of a leak.

Loss of brake fluid through leaks or broken brake lines can be a cause of brake failure. One half of the
system is lost when the primary system fails. However, initial pedal movement causes the unrestricted
primary piston to bottom against the secondary piston. Continued movement of the pedal moves the
secondary piston mechanically to displace fluid and transmit pressure to actuate the brakes connected
to the secondary system. The pedal travel will increase by a large amount In this case. Similarly, if
there is a failure in the secondary system. Initial pedal movement, in this case, causes the unrestricted
secondary piston to bottom against the forward wall of the master cylinder. Movement of the primary
piston displaces fluid and transmits hydraulic pressure to actuate the brakes connected to the primary
system. Again the pedal travel will increase by large amount.
Hydraulic system configurations:
In previous section, we discussed about how complete brake failure is avoided by using two
independent circuits. Now we will see how is this implemented.
A] Front rear split:

B] Diagonal or criss-cross split:

Under what conditions are is diagonal split system preferred over Front rear split system???
Brake Balance:
Have you ever wondered what would happen if front wheels lock (stop rotating and simply slides over
the road) before the front ones, or vice versa?? The vehicle will Understeer* or oversteer* and can
lose control. Therefore, it is necessary for the wheels to lock simultaneously. As the weight
distribution on both the wheels is not equal, both will need different braking force to lock. Moreover,
when the vehicle decelerates, the weight is shifted on front wheels due to inertia. The weight
distribution (both static and dynamic), can be calculated by a simple FBD as shown in next page.
This Difference in Normal reaction calls for Brake biasing, i.e. the pressure in front brakes and rear
brakes should be different. This is achieved by proportioning valves. A fixed proportioning valve
reduces the pressure increase to the brake line to which it is attached to, above a pre-determined
pressure called the split point. The rate of pressure reduction is called the prop valve "slope". The
valve must be located between the master cylinder and the caliper. Some Master cylinders have
integrated proportioning valves in them.
Using the weight transfer equation (on next Page) you
can calculate the normal forces on the front and rear
tires for any deceleration. Then multiplying by the tire
to road coefficient of friction and the radius of the
tire, you can calculate the front and rear brake torque
required for perfect balance. As shown in the below
graph Ideal rear to front torque ratio is non linear and
a fix ratio shows large deviation (Pink and blue line).
However, with a prop valve, we can obtain a close to
ideal curve.

Calculation of dynamic weights on wheels: