Wonder why carbon-ceramic brakes are so expensive? Watch how they’re made


Although carbon-ceramic brakes will outperform cast iron rotors all day, there's a good reason why only the most high-performance cars wear them. Foremost, they cost thousands of dollars, but ever wonder why?

The manufacturing process behind carbon-ceramic brakes is extravagant, to say the least. A video shows the exact process and it's not your average assembly line.

The brakes start life as raw materials: heat-moldable resin and chopped pieces of raw carbon fiber. As they head through the production process, machines pour the mixture into a mold the shape of the disc. The process doesn't only rely on machines, though. A worker receives the mold filled halfway, who then installs a slotted belt and aluminum cores into slots. The cores become the ventilation channel in the disc ring for the final product.

Another machine fills the mold the rest of the way before its pressed and heated with 44,000 pounds of pressure and heats the mixture to 392 degrees Fahrenheit. The process transforms the carbon and turns the moldable resin into plastic. Yes, the best brakes on Earth start out as plastic-infused carbon fiber at one point in the process.

After a cooling process, workers extract the disc and a computer-controlled machine drills ventilation holes and smooths out any rough areas. Then it's back into the heat for the batch of brakes. An oven bakes the discs for two days up to 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit. Here is where the plastic becomes carbon during a chemical process.

Moving right along, the brakes then receive a ceramic silicon powder. And, you guessed it, it's back into an oven. Over the course of 24 hours, the oven rebakes the disc at 3,092 degrees Fahrenheit, which melts the silicon. Low suction is applied which then forces the material into the disc. 

As the process wraps up, the disc receives a coat of protective paint, one more round in an oven to cure the paint, and finally, a robot sands the surface and polishes the surface for the final look. Get your geek on and check out the full process in the video above.

 
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