No matter the type of aircraft being flown, their brakes must be capable of generating enormous amounts of friction to attain the ability to stop a vehicle in motion. Relied on for ground operations, landing, and emergency stops, aircraft brakes work synonymously with various braking equipment to successfully bring an aircraft to a halt. Creating extreme amounts of energy upon takeoff, modern aircraft require brakes with the ability to withstand stopping at high speeds whenever an emergency halt is imminent. To ensure all forces can be withstood during braking, it is essential that aircraft use single, dual, or multiple disc brakes for optimal results depending on an aircraft's size and shape.
Single Disc Brakes
Primarily reserved for lightweight vehicles, single disc brakes provide the effective braking needed for most small aircraft. Typically, keyed or bolted onto each wheel, braking is activated by the pilot when rudder pedals are pressed, instigating a reaction within the wheels by applying friction to both sides of applied discs. Activated by the rudder pedals, hydraulic pressure forces brake pads or linings against a disc to generate enough friction to slow the vehicle. Friction is obtained with the aid of a non-rotating caliper which is bolted to an axle flange within the landing gear.
Incorporating an additional disc, dual-disc brakes are used whenever single disc brakes cannot supply sufficient braking friction. Each wheel utilizing dual-disc brakes contains two discs rather than one, and they are affixed onto a central mount where the brake can be keyed to the wheel with ease. The central mount comes in tandem with linings on each side, and once secured to the wheel, they are used to make contact with the discs to instigate braking.
The larger and heavier an aircraft is, the more braking force it will require. Supplying aircraft with adequate friction necessary to slow a vehicle to a complete stop, multiple-disc brakes are considered heavy-duty components. Constructed in such a way that supports various parts within the brake assembly, multiple-disc brakes are attached to an extended bearing carrier for maximum stability. Built as alternating steel stators and copper or bronze-plated discs, these parts serve as surfaces where wearable brake lining materials can be adhered. Crucial for braking, wearable brake liners are designed to be compressed against internal rotors to generate high levels of friction to slow all acts of forward momentum. However, as rotors and stators are thin, they heat up rapidly and are known to warp if unmanaged.
Essential for effective operation, regular inspections, maintenance, and adjustments are required for all brake types. Containing mechanical and/or hydraulic linkages which connect to rudder pedals that are operated by the pilot, friction caused by braking can radiate heat and weaken the surrounding system. This makes it essential that brakes employed for aircraft have the endurance to withstand repeated stress from impacts and high temperatures.
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