Development of the D-Brake LCDBThe D-Brake was developed as an improvement over previously existing braking systems. We addressed the issues of the past and forged into the future to provide the following:
- Improved braking at both low and high speeds
- Light weight
- No electrical draw
- No dangerous electromagnetic fields
- Very low parasitic losses
- Anti-skid protection
- Braking cruise control
- Simple installation
How did we get there? John DeConti first developed Liquid Cooled Disc Brakes (LCDB) in the early 1990’s for dynamometers, racecars, and industrial applications. This development was an off-shoot of his love of racing and engine development, and the desire to build an economical means of testing racing engines. With a background in hot rods, drag racing, test engineering, machining, and fabricating, John knew that heat was the enemy of all friction brakes.
The first LCDB’s were utilizing latent heat of vaporization and low coolant flow (as described in the 1991 US Patent # 5,003,829). This design creates a thermal centrifuge within the rotating brake disc, allowing cool dense water to flow radially outward and heated water and or vapor to flow radially inward. One benefit of this design is that it could absorb a great deal of energy on very little water flow. Compared to a water dynamometer which requires 10 GPM for every 100 HP, the LCDB can absorb the same power with 1 GPM, resulting in mostly steam from the outlet. Temperatures at the braking surface would remain in the 400 Deg F range without cracking brake rotors or burning pads. Brakes based on this design found their way into industrial applications, high performance cars, and dynamometers. These brakes used rotors made from cast iron and silicon carbide re-enforced aluminum. This breakthrough laid the ground work for D-Brake; proving that LCDB technology could run cool continuously, and also use materials uniquely suited for this application which were light weight and thermally conductive.
In 1994, a second patent (US Patent # 5,358,077) added a water pump inside of the brake rotor. This concept utilized higher coolant flow rates to avoid: (a) reaching the boiling point of the coolant, (b) problems associated with condensing steam in a closed loop system, and (c) the use of an external water pump. This initial design was used in commercial chassis applications as a mid-mount driveline retarder. The objective was to have a more versatile product that could be installed in various types of vehicles, providing additional safety and greatly reducing brake maintenance. This product was used in motor coaches, super-duty trucks (1-ton and up), and test dynamometers. One of the major developments to come out of this design was the use of copper brake rotors. The superior conductivity of the copper rotor created a brake disc that was thermally transparent.
In 2003, D-Brake, LLC was formed to take the concept from past designs and enhance everything about the product; from adding electronic controls, to improving quality and pumping flows, all while reducing the number of total components as well as the installation time. John is still at the head of Product Development, and having led the D-Brake LCDB though its entire journey, we will continue to forge into the future.