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Brake Disc (5)

The brake disc is the disc component of a disc brake against which the brake pads are applied. The design of the disc varies somewhat. Some are simply solid cast iron, but others are hollowed out with fins or vanes joining together the disc's two contact surfaces (usually included as part of a casting process). The weight and power of the vehicle determines the need for ventilated discs. The "ventilated" disc design helps to dissipate the generated heat and is commonly used on the more-heavily-loaded front discs.

Many higher-performance brakes have holes drilled through them. This is known as cross-drilling and was originally done in the 1960s on racing cars. For heat dissipation purposes, cross drilling is still used on some braking components, but is not favored for racing or other hard use as the holes are a source of stress cracks under severe conditions.

Discs may also be slotted, where shallow channels are machined into the disc to aid in removing dust and gas. Slotting is the preferred method in most racing environments to remove gas and water and to deglaze brake pads. Some discs are both drilled and slotted. Slotted discs are generally not used on standard vehicles because they quickly wear down brake pads; however, this removal of material is beneficial to race vehicles since it keeps the pads soft and avoids vitrification of their surfaces.

As a way of avoiding thermal stress, cracking and warping, the disc is sometimes mounted in a half loose way to the hub with coarse splines. This allows the disc to expand in a controlled symmetrical way and with less unwanted heat transfer to the hub.

On the road, drilled or slotted discs still have a positive effect in wet conditions because the holes or slots prevent a film of water building up between the disc and the pads. Cross-drilled discs may eventually crack at the holes due to metal fatigue. Cross-drilled brakes that are manufactured poorly or subjected to high stresses will crack much sooner and more severely.

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