Difference Between Ceramic and Semi-Metallic Brake Pads (With Table)

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Choosing the right brake pads for your vehicle is crucial because a good amount of investment goes into it. There are several factors on which picking up the suitable brake pads depends such as heavy driving, budget, extreme environmental conditions, amount of wear, etc. Ceramic and semi-metallic brake pads are the two most commonly used brake pads for both commercial and personal use. 

Ceramic vs Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

The difference between ceramic and semi-metallic brake pads is ceramic brake pads are formed from durable ceramic compounds and cause comparatively less wear. On the other hand, semi-metallic brake pads are pocket-friendly but at the same time cause more wear due to more stress on the brake rotors. 

Ceramic brake pads are ideal for those drivers who don’t drive in extreme situations and want long-lasting brake pads. Though ceramic brake pads are the costliest among all types of brake pads, they cause very less wear and extremely fine dust particles are produced. Ceramic brake pads are not noisier and one experiences a very peaceful drive. 

Semi-metallic brake pads are ideal for drivers who drive in extreme climatic conditions like very low temperatures or humid climates. Since metals are good conductors of heat, they are suitable for heavy driving like trucks and other heavy vehicles. Semi-metallic brake pads are not as expensive as ceramic brake pads but the former causes more noise and wear. 

Comparison Table Between Ceramic and Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

Parameters of ComparisonCeramic Brake PadsSemi-Metallic Brake Pads
MaterialCeramic brake pads mainly contain durable ceramic compounds. Recent years have seen a reduction in copper content in the same. A major portion of these brake pads contain metals like iron, copper, and steel. It also contains graphite lubricant. 
CostCeramic brake pads are costlier than semi-metallic brake pads.  It is relatively pocket-friendly as compared to ceramic brake pads. 
Braking powerCeramic brake pads are not suitable for extreme driving conditions whether it is freezing cold or extremely hot. Semi-metallic brake pads provide improved braking power over a wide range of temperatures and conditions. 
Noise productionCeramic brake pads are best known for the almost no-noise driving experience. These brake pads are much noisier than ceramic brake pads hence leading to a noisier ride. 
LastingCeramic brake pads tend to last much longer and as they wear, fine dust particles are produced leading to less debris on the vehicle. Semi-metallic brake pads tend to put more pressure on the brake rotors and hence the wear and tear are more. 

What are Ceramic Brake Pads?

 The purpose and type of your vehicle determine the right brake pads to buy. Ceramic brake pads are ideal for compact cars and low brake usage. It is long-lasting because it doesn’t wear easily and also produces almost no noise while using it. Ceramic brake pads are not ideal for heavy vehicles because the rate of heat absorption and transfer is not as fast as other materials. 

Ceramic brake pads are made of materials like clay and porcelain and are bonded with copper filaments. But, nowadays the usage of copper has been reduced in ceramic brake pads. These types of brake pads became very famous in the automobile industry during the 1980s. And, the reasons why these brake pads became famous were less noise and wear. Ceramic brake pads are also known for producing less dust which reduces the chances of debris in the vehicle. 

So, ceramic brake pads are an ideal choice for people who have an easy driving style and do not use heavy vehicles. It is perfect for personal or family cars as there is almost no noise production and the durability is also much longer as compared to other brake pads. 

What are Semi-Metallic Brake Pads?

 Semi-metallic brake pads are one of the most common types of brake pads especially for heavy vehicles like a truck. These brake pads contain 30% to 70% metals. It can be made of copper, steel, iron, or composite alloys. Semi-metallic brake pads are different than fully metallic brake pads because in the former type fillers like graphite lubricant is used instead of 100% metal. 

Semi-metallic brake pads are ideal for use in a wide range of temperature conditions. Since metal is a good conductor of heat, these brake pads are suitable for the high-temperature environment and it also has a faster rate of cooling. Due to this reason, the braking performance of semi-metallic pads is much improved. It is also less expensive than ceramic brake pads.

One of the disadvantages of semi-metallic brake pads is that it creates a lot of noise. The amount of pressure applied on the brake rotors is also very much which leads to wear of the pads. And, the debris from this wear settles in the vehicle. So, it is a good choice for rough use but not for luxury compact cars. 

Main Differences Between Ceramic and Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

  1. Ceramic brake pads mainly contain durable ceramic compounds. Recent years have seen a reduction in copper content in the same whereas semi-metallic brake pads contain metals like iron, copper, steel, and composite alloys. It also contains graphite lubricant. 
  2. Ceramic brake pads are costlier than semi-metallic brake pads. In fact, ceramic brake pads are the costliest whereas semi-metallic brake pads are relatively cheaper. 
  3. Ceramic brake pads are not suitable for extreme driving conditions whether it is freezing cold or extremely hot whereas semi-metallic brake pads provide improved braking power over a wide range of temperatures and conditions.
  4. Ceramic brake pads are best known for the almost no-noise driving experience whereas semi-metallic brake pads produce a very loud noise. 
  5. Ceramic brake pads tend to last much longer whereas semi-metallic brake pads causes wear very easily due to more stress on the brake rotors. 

Conclusion

Both ceramic brake pads and semi-metallic brake pads have advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the right type of brake pads depends on the needs of the customer. For example, if the brake pads are for your vehicle that you don’t use in extreme conditions or very rough driving, ceramic brake pads are a better option. This is because though it is costly it will last longer. 

On the other hand, if it is for a commercial purpose, buying way too expensive brake pads is not a very wise decision. In this case, semi-metallic brake pads are an ideal choice because they are made for heavy driving and cost less. 

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0955221916302163
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1011575013779
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