Brake Finder

Brake Pad Friction Material: Asbestos

From the Stone Age to the Space Age, asbestos is one of the most amazing and interesting minerals on Earth, even with its negative impact on human health.

Asbestos Early Uses

In the Stone Age, asbestos was used as an additive to strengthen ceramic pots. The Ancient Greeks wove it into cloth for napkins and perpetual wicks for lamps. They would clean the napkins by throwing them into fire.

Asbestos contains long and thin fibrous and flexible crystals. Its natural properties include excellent electrical insulation, high heat resistance, and good temperature insulation. It has been used in building materials and to make suits for firefighters.

Discovered and mined all over the world, from North America to Africa and Russia, it is still mined in Russia today. The first commercial mining took place in Canada and the United States in 1870. Asbestos is still used in limited commercial products around the world.

Asbestos in Car Brakes

Its unique properties and commercial usage were well known by 1900. In the search to improve brake pad friction materials, Herbert Frood received a patent for brake pads using cloth and resin with asbestos in 1901. Experimenting with asbestos, he introduced asbestos friction material in England by 1910.

Asbestos could be molded to fit the shape of brake shoes allowing its use in commercial trucks and buses, including in military trucks and tanks during World War 1.

Up to the 1980s, manufacturers used brake shoe drums on all four wheels. In 1953, Triumph started installing front disk brakes and pads on their sports cars.

The health issues around asbestos were investigated as early as 1900 because of lung problems and early deaths in asbestos miners. Even with the known health problems, asbestos was the primary brake friction material until the 1970s.

When asbestos use was banned, brake manufacturers developed modern brake pads and friction material. These brake pads were advertised as having no asbestos in their manufacture. Today, brake pads no longer have asbestos in their formulation.

About Goodyear Brakes

Goodyear Brakes manufactures premium quality brake bundles, calipers, rotors, brake pads and all the hardware required to successfully install brakes, all backed by a national warranty, decades of production experience and one of the best-known names in automotive excellence. The brake pads are manufactured in the USA using a proprietary green production process by a company with more than 50 years of experience in friction science. The Goodyear Brakes product line is available through Goodyear Brakes at Amazon, CarID, Buy Brakes and AutoAnything.

Goodyear (and Winged Foot Design) and Blimp Design are trademarks of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company used under license by FDP Virginia Inc., 1076 Airport Road, Tappahannock, VA 22560, USA. Copyright 2020 The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. Goodyear Brakes and FDP Virginia are not responsible for its products when they are subjected to improper applications, installation, or accident.


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