At the ICACC’10 conference in Daytona Beach, one of the keynote speakers was the University of Bayreuth’s Walter Krenkel. Krenkel invented a liquid silicon infiltration process for the manufacture of SiC-based ceramics for disks and pads in high performance brake systems. These brakes are hard and heat resistant, plus their light weight translates into less spun mass at the wheels. The downside is that ceramic brake systems are still expensive. Ceramic composite brakes are common in F1 racing and increasingly in high-performance, luxury-level cars.

The first video, from the Discovery Channel, shows the various and complex steps used in one method of making high-performance silicon carbide brake disks. As you will see, there is still a lot of manual intervention in the process and quality control. The second video is of actual F1 racing vehicles that use ceramic brakes. They key thing to watch in the video is the extreme temperatures ceramic components are subjected to (look for how the disks glow is apparent in the slow-motion segments when the driver applies hard braking pressure).