NetComposites
Attwater

Hemp for Eco-Friendly Brake Pads

19 March 2004

Scientists and engineers at the University of Exeter are investigating whether hemp and other natural materials could be used to make sustainable and eco-friendly brake pads.

The £400,000 research project will be carried out for the DTI by Exeter Advanced Technologies (X-AT), which is based at the University. Eight other partners from the automotive and crop industries will take part.

Currently 20,000 tonnes of brake materials pollute the environment in the UK each year. Pollution occurs not just from cars and lorries but from tube trains, trains and trams. Alternative natural fibres, like hemp and sisal, will cut pollution and create cost savings. For instance, replacing aramid with hemp would make production cheaper by a multiple of at least fifteen.

Dr. Luke Savage of X-AT said: 'This process began with the removal of asbestos from brake pads in the 1980s. Its replacement, aramid fibre is very expensive. Eco-friendly alternatives such as jute, hemp, nettle, and flax are all much, much cheaper. The team at X-AT is excited by the possibility of a break-through replacement which will revolutionise brake manufacture and protect the environment.'

The project has two main aims: to encourage the removal of harmful materials used in brake pads, and to create a new market for agricultural crops within the automotive industry.

There will be major cost savings for the automotive industry if X-AT and its partners can find a workable alternative to the aramid, lead and antimony used in brakes. Aramid is expensive at £14 to 20 per kg compared to hemp and sisal at under £1.

There are 80 million sets of brake pads / shoes changed on UK vehicles each year. The replacement parts market for brakes (shoes and pads) is £450 million - based on 2001 figures.





Share this story


Related / You might like...

Refitech Introduces Refiflex Standardised Carbon Components for Lightweight Construction at JEC 2019

At the JEC World 2019, Refitech Composite Components will showcase its new Refiflex range of carbon components for easy accessible lightweight construction for a range of applications.  

Solvay Displays Thermoplastic Composite Automotive Component at JEC World 2019

Solvay is displaying a thermoplastic composite automotive component on its stand at JEC World 2019.

Cygnet Texkimp Strengthens Position in Filament Winding Market With Launch of Four-axis Machine

Custom machine builder Cygnet Texkimp will demonstrate its new filament winding technology at JEC World 2019.