There have been a lot of changes over the years to brake pad materials and manufacturing methods.
Friction Materials Standards Institute’s (FMSI) latest addition is its “Z” number identification.
For the brakes to function, the rotors and pads have to wear. Even a brake rotor’s metallurgy can determine how a pad wears. For import nameplate vehicles, the chemistry of the pads is part of the equation that determines how the brakes feel and perform.
How the components in the friction material shear, break and interact during braking can determine a pad’s friction level, noise and wear characteristics. A brake pad may require up to 20 different raw materials. Some raw components of a friction material are abrasive, while other components lubricate. Some components, like structural fibers and resins, hold the pad together, while other components tune the friction levels through various temperature ranges.