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Brake Hydraulic System Principles & Service Tips.
Author/s: Bob Freudenberger
Issue: Sept-Oct, 1999
Everyone who works on brakes MUST know these concepts and procedures
In the early days of the automobile, some very clever engineering was employed to apply brakes mechanically. For example, the Italian Bugatti routed the cables over the top of the front axle so that the twisting action generated by stopping added force to the shoe cam lever.
No matter how ingenious the design, however, there was always a major drawback: Nothing could insure that braking force would be exactly equal at any pair of wheels, so there was a good chance that stepping on the pedal would cause swerving and skidding. This made the idea of hydraulically actuated brakes attractive--according to Pascal's Law, pressure at all points in a closed hydraulic system must necessarily be the same--but it took many years to develop dependable systems. The first car of any consequence to carry four-wheel hydraulic brakes was the. 1921 Dusenberg of the U.S.
On the most basic level, all brake hydraulic systems share the same principle: Muscle strength amplified by leverage and perhaps a power booster displaces fluid from the master cylinder and causes pressure to increase all through the circuits. This overcomes the retracting springs in drums and the seals' elasticity in disc calipers and pushes the friction material against the rotating member.
That much is obvious, but the subtleties of modern designs that provide proper performance in the real world deserve some explanation. Hence this article, which also includes important service information every mechanic should know about.
Although it has been in use for decades all over the world, the dual (also called "split" or "tandem") master cylinder is still widely misunderstood, so we had better explain its construction and operation. A typical late-model specimen will be of the composite variety (aluminum with a plastic reservoir), but iron one-piece units are still around in abundance. Two pistons ride in the bore, and here is where we encounter some confusing terminology. The rear piston is the primary, and the one in the front is the secondary. This apparent misnaming resulted because the rear piston is the first to receive the force of the driver's leg.
Each piston has a primary seal at its front and a secondary at its rear, so you will be hearing such combinations as primary piston secondary seal, secondary piston secondary seal, etc. The primary seals are the most important because they trap the fluid that is about to be squeezed into the lines. The primary piston's secondary seal keeps fluid from escaping out of the back of the cylinder (commonly into a booster), and the secondary piston's secondary seal acts as a barrier to make two essentially separate cylinders out of one.
In normal braking, the push rod from the pedal or booster forces the primary piston forward. No pressure is created until the primary seal covers the compensating or vent port from the reservoir. Once it does, fluid is trapped in the chamber between the pistons and becomes, for all intents and purposes, a solid column. Pressure is routed from this chamber to two wheels. The trapped fluid and the primary piston coil spring both bear on the secondary piston, moving it forward and creating pressure in the chamber ahead of the secondary piston's primary seal, to which the line to the other two wheels is attached.
Continued from page 1
When the pedal is released, a partial vacuum occurs in both pressure chambers because the fluid's inertia and viscosity prevent it from returning from the lines immediately. In order to re-arm the brakes instantaneously, the primary seals are designed to allow fluid to flow one way (forward) from behind each seal into the pressure chambers.
The replenishing ports allow fluid to move freely between the chambers behind both pistons' primary cups and the reservoir according to demand and expansion and contraction from temperature changes.
If a hose should rupture or one of the brake lines should become perforated from corrosion resulting in a catastrophic loss of fluid in half the system, the other half will still provide a means of decelerating the vehicle, albeit with a lower pedal and reduced stopping power.
Both pistons have extensions which project out ... more
Find essay on Engineering
Genetically Altered Food
Genetic modification of organisms in general is a biotechnological process that
forces genes to behave according to certain characteristics. Changing
characteristics of organisms is based on changing their DNA (tech
deoxyribonucleic acid; the acid which carries genetic information in a cell). It
is being used for modifying genes in plants, animals or micro-organisms. It is
being also used especially with food in order to improve the nutritious quality,
make less use of chemicals such as pesticides, which proved to be extremely
harmful, and sometimes to add flavour. Genetically modified food (GMF) is
considered one of the modern production improvements and the largest food
experiments in the worlds history. However, it is very vital to dispel
misconception about the nature of food. GMF is a mixed blessing which has a lot
of benefits but at the same time may arouse problems. It has many good aspects,
such as making plants ripen faster, improving the species taste and look, and
providing Third World countries with healthier and cheaper food. Genetic
modification of food has won the admiration of a lot of people, including
myself, because of its new and attractive accomplishments, but at the same time
we should take into consideration its disadvantages and try to find ways to
avoid them. Genetically modified foodstuffs have several disadvantages which I
believe are possibly avoidable through research and experiments. Most of the
time, the sale of GMFs is being permitted without posing the risks and without
informing the public with the possible danger. This of course is a violation of
human rights which can Nagi2 easily be avoided by simply informing consumers of
the characteristics of the product. When genetic engineers insert new genes into
any organism, it can lead to disruption and unpredictable changes in the pattern
and structure of the new genetic function. "In fact, the process of
inserting genes is quite random and can damage normal genes " (Genetic
Engineered Food - A Serious Health Risk 3). Therefore, harmful substances may
appear unexpectedly and can possibly create viruses and new dangerous diseases.
Therefore, it is the obligation of experts to examine GM products before making
them available to the public in order to avoid undesirable diseases. A common
example is, when some people who are allergic to certain kinds of food such as
fish eat genetically modified products such as tomatoes which were injected with
genes similar to these fish, they get easily affected by allergens. Also, GMFs
might contain toxins, which may negatively affect human beings. An experiment
run on rats by feeding them with GM potatoes affected their digestive tracks
caused changes in some of their organ weights and caused adverse effects on
their immune system(south pacific consumer protection programme1). Such
experiments show the importance of thoroughly examining GM products and making
sure of their safety on humans. In addition to that, there are long-term effects
with reasons not yet identified. That could also be avoided by further research
and continued experiments. GMF is now entering the market with an increasing
rate. Products include tomatoes, corn, potatoes and soybeans. A main problem is
that the issue of labelling these products is not yet widely used. Most
developed countries have adopted laws Nagi 3 that require product labelling of
ingredients, fats, vitamin, protein and carbohydrate. These nutrition
information provides consumers with a level of awareness and choice. Similarly,
GMF producers are obliged to label their products. They have to provide their
customers with all necessary information about the produce. This is the least
that could be done to preserve the rights of consumers to know and decide for
themselves. Labelling is then one possible choice that could help in avoiding
some of the GMFs dangers. People have the right to know if the food they are
consuming is genetically modified whether it is a matter of health, preference
or just a matter of taste" Surveys consistently find that 85-90 % of
consumers want clear labelling of all genetically engineered foods"(Genetic
Engineered Food- A Serious Health Risk 2). Moreover, it is necessary to label
food if the nutritional content is changed. Take tomatoes for example; they are
a source of Vitamin C, but if through modification they lose this characteristic
(Vitamin C ), consumers definitely have the right to know. The wrong treatment
of GM crops may cause several environmental risks. It was proved that GM crops
are easy to grow in most kinds of soils. They can grow in land that is prone to
drought or erosion in addition to soils with highly salt acid conditions. They
are also capable ... more
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