Efficiency of disengaged wet brake packs

Key objectives in off-highway vehicular powertrain development are fuel efficiency and environmental protection. As a result palliative measures are made to reduce parasitic frictional losses, whilst sustaining machine operational performance and reliability. A potential key contributor to the overall power loss is the rotation of disengaged wet multi-plate pack brake friction. Despite the numerous advantages of wet brake pack design, during high speed manoeuvre in highway travel or at start-up conditions significant frictional power losses occur. The addition of recessed grooves on the brake friction lining is used to dissipate heat during engagement. These complicate the prediction of performance of the system, particularly when disengaged. To characterise the losses produced by these components, a combined numerical and experimental approach is required. This paper presents a Reynolds-based numerical model including the effect of fluid inertia and squeeze film transience for prediction of performance of wet brake systems. Model predictions are compared with very detailed combined Navier-Stokes and Raleigh-Plesset fluid dynamics analysis to ascertain its degree of conformity to representative physical operating conditions, as well the use of a developed experimental rig. The combined numerical and experimental approach is used to predict significant losses produced during various operating conditions. It is shown that cavitation becomes significant at low temperatures due to micro-hydrodynamic action, enhanced by high fluid viscosity. The magnitude of the losses for these components under various operating conditions is presented. The combined numerical-experimental study of wet multi-plate brakes of off-highway vehicles with cavitation flow dynamics has not hitherto been reported in literature.