Exhaust emissions technology has reduced toxic diesel and gasoline emissions substantially during the last few decades so that most particulate pollution caused by road traffic now comes from road, tire and brake wear. A new brake disc from Buderus Guss called the iDisc can help to reduce particulates from brakes.

According to the Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, brakes and tires are responsible for 32 percent of vehicle particulate emissions and about half of that is brake dust. However, Bosch says that its new iDisc (the "i' stands for innovation) brake disc generates 90 percent less brake dust than a conventional rotor.

Bosch subsidiary Buderus Guss manufactures around 20 million cast iron brake discs per year and the iDisc is based on a conventional disc but its friction area is mechanically, thermally and galvanically treated before being coated with a tungsten carbide layer. The extra processing results in the iDisc costing around three times as much as a normal cast iron disc but the cost is expected to decrease as production volumes rise.

Offsetting the current high cost, Buderus Guss claims that the tungsten carbide coating provides braking performance similar to that of a carbon ceramic disc, especially with respect to brake fade, and it costs about one third of a ceramic equivalent. Adding to the cost equation, wear is reduced to the degree that an iDisc can have a service life around twice that of a normal disc and the friction surface will not corrode as cast iron ones do.

As a side benefit, the 90 percent reduction in brake dust will dramatically reduce the amount of dust deposited on wheel rims, making them much easier to clean.

"The iDisc has everything it takes to replace the conventional cast iron brake disc and become the new standard in the brake disc market," says Gerhard Pfeifer, managing director of Buderus Guss. "Given the continued particulate pollution debate in many countries and large cities around the world, there is nothing standing in the way of its breakthrough."

According to Buderuss Guss and Bosch, the demand for brake discs was more than 330 million units worldwide in 2016 so the potential for production volume increase is enormous. The iDisc is scheduled to be supplied to a European automotive manufacturer from this month.

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