PRI 2016: PowerBrake Updates Their Caliper Design With FEA

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We first met the guys at PowerBrake at PRI in 2015, and since went on to include their custom tailored rally brakes in Project Gruppe R, our Golf R rally/recce car build. Their brakes are known for their uncompromising dedication to rugged dependability and functionality, these are not blingy parts, rather true race parts.

We stopped in to see what’s new with Delon Murphy of PowerBrake and found they have been hard at work making updates to an already impressive product.

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“All the race calipers are all new, we used a lot of FEA to get all the new features; the bridge at the top, the horseshoe shape and all the little radii, there’s no sharp edges or area to crank from a stress riser,” Murphy pointed out.

After completely re-designing the billet aluminum bodies of the calipers for functionality, they turned to the hardware. In the high-vibration environment of rally, road-racing, and off-road racing hardware must include some kind of thread locking feature.

“We’ve done a lot of work with our hardware, replaced all the bolts. We use a European bolt and we coat them, but the problem with coating is you can have embrittlement and stuff like that, so what we do is use the same coating as used on an underwater oil rig,” Murphy explained.

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“What happens in the Dakar rally  and off-road is you have to torque check everything, but you can’t do that with Loc-Tite. We had to come up with a solution to that problem, so the coating gives lubricity and  we also use a patented thread that NASA designed for the Space Shuttle, now the thread locks it without Loc-Tite,” he continued.

PowerBrake has newly developed a street version of their race caliper, previously they went off of a Henry Ford color model where you could have any color as long as it was Type III hard anodized gray, but now more vibrant colors are available. These street calipers still feature the trick internal wiper seals of the race version, but don’t have all the same FEA driven changes. We look forward to seeing what further developments come from the engineers at PowerBrake.

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About the author

Trevor Anderson

Trevor Anderson comes from an eclectic background of technical and creative disciplines. His first racing love can be found in the deserts of Baja California. In 2012 he won the SCORE Baja 1000 driving solo from Ensenada to La Paz in an aircooled VW. Trevor is engaged with hands-on skill sets such as fabrication and engine building, but also the theoretical discussion of design and technology. Trevor has a private pilot's license and is pursuing an MFA in fine art - specifically researching the aesthetics of machines, high performance materials and their social importance to enthusiast culture.
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