In Formula 1, fractions of a second often make all the difference. Aerodynamically optimized, high-tech race cars get around corners safely, even at the highest speeds. “However, the brakes are the key,” comments Helmut Büsser, head of the Industrial Applications market segment. “They are repeatedly tested to their physical limits during races that involve a variety of surfaces and weather conditions.” Enormous centrifugal forces are generated in tight curves in particular, which means the driver must be in full control of the vehicle.
Silanes absorb infiltrated water from the brake fluid
The high-performance ceramic brakes conventionally used in motor sports are subjected to extreme stresses: They can reach temperatures of 800 to 900 degrees Celsius at the high speeds reached during races. To prevent the brakes from cracking at these temperatures, the clearances are higher than in normal brakes. However, this means that more moisture can penetrate.
In close collaboration with the technology leader Castrol, Evonik’s silane experts developed especially effective silanes for this special application under the brand name DYNASYLAN® BC. As the main component of the React SRF Racing brake fluid from Castrol, these can reliably absorb atmospheric moisture that infiltrates from outside.
This special property of the silanes is the decisive factor in enabling the racing vehicle to conquer even dangerous bends. After all, brakes emit heat: If the brake fluid becomes too hot, bubbles form and the performance of the brakes declines – in extreme cases, they might not respond at all. At cornering speeds of 160 km/h and above, this can have fatal consequences.
Evonik refines analysis methods
Another important factor for the performance of the brake fluid is a linear viscosity – irrespective of how much water penetrates. In this respect, too, the large share of DYNASYLAN® BC ensures that the fluid remains technically flawless and the driver can rely on a defined braking force transmission.
In Formula 1 in particular, the teams rely on lasting high quality – the equipment must always behave in exactly the same way in comparable situations if the drivers are to deliver consistently good performance. In the brakes, this is only possible if the composition of the brake fluid – and its most important component DYNASYLAN® BC – remains consistent from batch to batch. “This consistent quality is one of Evonik’s strengths,” emphasizes the expert.
Continuously enhanced measuring and analysis methods in the laboratories mean that even the most minuscule deviations can be detected. This underscores the “broad range of experience of the Evonik experts,” Büsser states, adding: “Our technical resources are excellently suited to this and are always kept up to the state of the art.” This provides important added value for the customer. After all, absolute precision is especially crucial for this special application – safe braking every time and in all weather conditions is the order of the day. As such, the driver can rely on the performance of the brakes, even under extreme stresses. In short, the silanes deliver; now it is down to the skill of the driver to beat the competition and take the checkered flag.