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RPS Carbon Brake Technology

Real Carbon-Carbon vs. Carbon Ceramic Brakes

RPS Brakes are made from real carbon-carbon material and not carbon-ceramic. The manufacturing process used by RPS is so unique and economical it has received a US Patent. Real carbon-carbon is used in Formula One, Le Mans and Top fuel and Funny Car drag racing, not carbon-ceramic. Carbon-ceramic brakes are becoming more popular on performance cars because compared to steel rotors they weigh less and their surface has a longer wear life. Also compared to real carbon-carbon their production time is a couple of days versus many months.

However, it is precisely the fact that it takes months and not days to produce carbon-carbon that makes this material so special and superior to carbon-ceramic. There is a great video on YouTube called “How It’s Made, Carbon Composite Brakes” that illustrates how ceramic brakes are made. In short, carbon ceramic brakes are made using short chopped carbon fibers combined with powered resin with a thin ceramic coating. First the fibers and resin are put in a mold at high temperature to make the core rotor which is than coated with ceramic particles to make a hard brittle surface. There are three major problems with this process. First short chopped pieces of carbon are in no way as strong as the 3-D woven sheets of carbon used by RPS. Using carbon-ceramic is like using a fiberglass chopper gun to lay up your boat versus hand laid sheets of material which is many times stronger.

Second, a short curing time of only a couple of days is used to try and convert the resin into pure carbon. In reality it takes many months at very high temperature and pressure in a methane gas chamber to completely convert all of the resin into carbon and fill all of the voids left behind in the middle of the rotor when the resin is burned away. This is why you must weigh each rotor after hard use to see if it has to be replaced because it has burned away from the inside out. The carbon-carbon material used by RPS is cured properly for 6 to 8 months to ensure that there are no holes left behind. The wear and life of these rotors can easily be measured without having to break out a gram scale.

The third problem with carbon-ceramic brakes is they are brittle and thus a very delicate surface. The surface on carbon ceramic brake rotors are so delicate if you let your wheel hit the rotor when changing tires or you go off road during a Track Day and gravel or even small rocks hit and chip the rotor it must be replaced at great expense. Because RPS’s entire carbon-carbon brake rotor is nothing but pure carbon molecules with no candy-like surface, dropped wheels and rocks will not damage the rotor to the point of replacement which is exactly why most all racing series make competitors remove their carbon-ceramic rotors and replace them with either steel or real carbon-carbon before being allowed to race.