Preventing Carbon-Carbon Composite Disc Brakes from Oxidizing
Mentor:Peter Filip, Professor and Director of the Center for Advanced Friction Studies, Southern University of Illinois, Carbondale
The purpose of this research was to determine if current carbon antioxidants could have an effect on slowing down oxidation at high temperatures on carbon-carbon composites. Once carbon is oxidized its microstructures weaken, leading to degradation. At elevated temperatures (400 -500 degrees Celsius, carbon begins to oxidize. Carbon-carbon composites are commonly used to make disc brakes. In a race season, a typical Formula 1 car will go through 240 discs, at an estimated cost of $300,000.  Commercial airlines, such as American Airlines, spend approximately $3,000,000 on disc brakes.  This study included a base carbon control sample that was placed in an oven 30 times at 1300 degrees Celsius for 30 seconds. The experimental samples were coated with the antioxidant and placed in the oven 30 times at the same temperature as the control sample. After heat treatment, the mass was measured for each sample group and graphed to determine which sample lost more mass. Comparing the samples indicated how much protection the coating provided at preventing the carbon from oxidizing. The experimental sample that was treated with the antioxidant, yield a result of only 10% weight loss. The control sample carbon lost approximately 30% of it mass because it was pure, not traded with any antioxidant. One limit of this experiment was the absorption of dust particles by the control and experimental samples, however the dust particles did not harm or effect the results of this study.
 Filip, P. Private Communication, (Jul. 2012).
 Wood, R. Bleacher Report. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/42136-formula-one-money-money-money-part-3-component-costs (accessed Aug.3, 2012). "Formula One: Money, Money, Money (Part 3) Component Costs."