Surface Transforms, UK-based makers of high-technology carbon fibre reinforced ceramic (CFRC) materials for the aerospace and high-performance automotive markets, has signed a two-year Cooperative Agreement with German automotive parts supplier Metek.

The agreement with one of Europe’s leading suppliers of braking systems to the automotive industry and owner of Advanced Materials Lanxide LLC of the USA, is for the design, development and supply of carbon ceramic brake discs and pads to the European automotive industry.

Under the terms of the agreement, the company expects to generate revenues of €60,000 during the initial testing and development phase of the cooperation. During later phases of the contract, further income will be derived from road car model specific licence and supply agreements.

Over the past 12 months Surface Transforms and Metek have completed an initial period of evaluation and road car testing of carbon ceramic brake discs and pads.

The tests, undertaken at Metek, show that CFRC materials give a significant improvement in performance over traditional steel brake discs and organic pads.  A 60% reduction in weight and a 50% improvement on stopping force has been achieved. The three-dimensional structure of the carbon ceramic discs contributes to very good wear characteristics whilst retaining significant disc integrity when compared to the competition. These properties have also been demonstrated in the wear and integrity tests undertaken on Surface Transforms’ aircraft brake discs.

The European steel brake disc and pad market is currently estimated to be 360 million units per year at a supplier market value of €3.5 billion. The directors of Surface Transforms estimate that once carbon ceramic brake technology is accepted by the automotive majors initially up to 1-3% of the market (principally a proportion of the executive and luxury segments of the road car market) will adopt the new technology brakes with their superior braking, handling and environmental performances.

The cooperation agreement is in three phases.