How Do Car Brakes Work?

Car brakes are an integral part of any automobile. Without them, it would be impossible to stop your vehicle, which would in turn lead to a car crash. Not only would you be unable to stop, but you couldn't even slow down. But how is this accomplished? How do car brakes work?

The Basic Breakdown

When you press down on the brake pedal on the driver's side floorboard of your car, it either stops your vehicle (if depressed completely) or slows your car down (if depressed slightly). This happens because that brake pedal transmits the force applied by your foot to the actual brakes located in the engine of your car. Most engines accomplish this through the use of an incompressible fluid, such as an oil, basically, this is what the brake oil in your car is necessary for.

A Little More In-Depth

It isn't quite as simple as that, however, because your brake system requires a lot more pressure than what your foot is able to produce via the pedal. So the brake system uses multiplied force. This is achieved by using friction and lever system.

When your foot presses on the brake pedal, you are using the brake pads to produce friction. This friction moves the oil to the brakes located in your engine.

The force of your foot is primarily increased by the friction, which is essentially defined as the force of one object rubbing against another. This rubbing creates energy, much like the static shock of rubbing your socks on the ground and touching a balloon.

When the fluid is pushed towards the brakes, the lever system comes into play. This lever system is what produces the most multiplication. By using a counterpoint and a specific amount of distance, your vehicle produces the necessary amount of force needed to press down your brakes.

The exact scientific formula used to determine just how much pressure this is, looks like this:

distance from pedal to pivot = Y (the increase factor transmitted to cylinder)

the pressure of your foot (X) Y = total pressure

So, if the distance from your pedal to the pivot point is 3, then 3=Y. If you apply say, ten pounds of pressure with your foot, then the equation would be 10 (X) 3 = 30. Thirty pounds of pressure are then being applied to the cylinders to help your car brake or slow down.

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