Different types of brakes and braking systems

Different types of brakes and braking systems explained

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Brakes are unconditionally the most crucial safety equipment in any vehicle, and most of the brakes work on the principle of frictional force. The frictional force converts the kinetic energy (energy due to the motion of an object) into heat energy. This mechanism explains how frictional force stops a vehicle.

There are different types of braking systems used in automobiles. Some are traditional ones and have been in usage since humans invented wheels. On the other hand, some are more advanced and came into existence with the advancement of technology.

So, first, have a look at different types of the braking system.


1.Mechanical braking system 


This braking system has been one of the generally used braking systems since the invention of vehicles. As the name suggests, a mechanical braking system works with mechanical power. When the user presses the brake pedal, it transfers a force (pull or push) to the brake disc or drum using various mechanical parts. These mechanical parts are mainly linkages like springs, fulcrums, or cylindrical rods. This braking system depends upon mechanical parts, so the chances of brake failure are high as these mechanical linkages can break anytime.


2.Hydraulic braking system


The second most used braking system is the hydraulic braking system. As the name suggests, this braking system depends on the hydraulic system for its functioning. When the user pushes the brake pedal, it transfers force to the hydraulic system. This hydraulic system consists of incompressible hydraulic fluid-filled in a narrow cylinder that amplifies this force and delivers it to the disc or drum for effective braking. A hydraulic braking system is more effective than a mechanical braking system. Also, the chances of braking failure are lower in the hydraulic braking system than in the Mechanical braking system.


3.Servo braking system 


This system is the latest and most advanced braking system incorporated in any vehicle. This braking system is also known as a vacuum-assisted braking system. Servo braking system works in association with the hydraulic system although the cylinders used are comparatively smaller than those used in the hydraulic braking system. When the user presses the brake pedal, it creates a vacuum on the side of the booster. The vacuum means low pressure, and this low pressure applies a force over the diaphragm that engages wheel braking.

The mechanism behind the working of this braking system is that a change in air pressure exerts pressure on the booster.

This braking system is highly effective, and the user need not deliver high pressure over the brake pedals.


4.Electromagnetic braking system 


This braking system is considerably expensive to equip, although its maintenance costs are one of the lowest of all braking systems. This braking system is suitable for trains or trams, and nowadays, they may also be available in some modern vehicles. This braking system does not work over the principle of frictional force, but it works on the principle of electromagnetic waves or flux.

When a driver presses the brake pedal, this system produces a magnetic flux perpendicular to the direction of motion of the tire. This perpendicular magnetic flux generates a force opposite to the rotation of wheels and slows down the vehicle. 

As this braking system does not work on the principle of frictional force, it does not generate heat. This absence of heat reduces the wear and tear of brake parts that means it requires low maintenance.



Different types of brakes


Drum brakes


The most basic type of brake you will come across is a drum brake. This brake includes a brake shoe and tire drum.

When the user presses the brake pedal, it forces both of the brake shoe against the inner surface of the drum. This contact causes friction which stops tire rotation. Drum brakes require regular maintenance as friction causes wear and tear of the brake shoe.


Disc brakes


Today most vehicles, even the entry-level ones, have disc brakes. These brakes are more efficient than drum brakes. This type of brake disc is attached to the wheel or the axle. Brake pads attach to the disc such that they generally don’t come in contact with brakes until the driver engages the brake pedals.

When the user presses the brake pedal, this pushes the brake pads against the disc, and it causes friction. This friction now opposes the motion of the disc and will eventually slow down the wheels.


A few more terms regarding brakes you will come across are as following:


Emergency brakes (hand brake)


These brakes are also known as parking brakes. They’re similar to other brakes, but their usage is restricted to emergencies (when primary break fails) or parking a vehicle. This break is usually present between the front seats and is hand operated. 


Anti-lock braking system


This system is another necessary feature that avoids accidents in case of emergency. Generally, when brakes are applied too hard, it causes seizure or locking of wheels. This ABS prevents the locking of the wheel when sudden hard brakes are applied.




These are the different types of braking systems and brakes that are available in the automobile industry. Entry-level vehicles mostly equip with a mechanical braking system, whereas high-end luxury vehicles have more efficient braking systems like the hydraulic braking system.

Mukesh choudhary
Mukesh choudhary
Age may offer experience but my passion for cars brings me expertise. I am extremely good at one thing and that's writing about cars.

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