Stopping a car in an emergency can be very challenging. One feature used in several vehicles is antilock brakes. When used properly, an antilock brake system (ABS) adds an important measure of safety to your driving, under all conditions. Antilock brakes enhance vehicle stability and steering, and may reduce stopping distances during emergency breaking, particularly on wet or icy roads. A disc brake, a system previously used in vehicles, uses a piston to squeeze the brake pads against a rotor.
Breaking harder increases the magnitude of the normal force, which results in the increase of the force of friction acting on the rotor. Given that the rotor is attached to the steering wheel, as the rotor reduces its speed so does the wheel. With disc brakes on cars, the brake can prevent the wheel from turning lot faster than the friction from the road can stop the car from moving. This can cause the wheels to lock, sending the vehicle into an uncontrollable skid. Wheel lockup can result in longer stopping distances, loss of steering control, and loss of stability if the vehicle begins to spin.
The antilock braking system can prevent these potentially life threatening car accidents from occurring. The ABS is composed of four main components: speed sensors, a pump, valves, and a controller. The speed sensors, which are located at each wheel, provide the ABS with the information of when the wheel is about to lock up. There is a valve in the brake line of each brake controlled by the ABS. On some systems the valve is located in three different positions. In the first position, the valve is open; pressure from the master cylinder is transferred right through to the brake.
In the second position, the valve blocks the line, which isolates that brake from the master cylinder. This prevents the pressure from rising further in case the driver pushes the brake pedal harder. In the third position, the valve releases some of the pressure from the brake. Given that the valve releases pressure from the break, the pump is used to put that pressure back. When a valve reduces the pressure in a line, the pump is used to get the pressure back up. Lastly, the controller is the computer in the car. It monitors the speed sensors and controls the valves.
An antilock break system uses the computer to monitor the readings of speed sensors of the vehicle’s wheels. If a driver suddenly decreases the speed of the vehicle, the wheel will also experience a dramatic decrease in speed. The computer used in the ABS will immediately reduce the force on the brake pads until the wheel moves at an appropriate speed once again. The computer has the ability to alter the force on the brake pads within a split second, which enables the vehicle to reduce its speed immediately without the tires experiencing a skid.
This process will help the driver slow don’t the car quickly while being able to maintain control over the car. When the ABS system is in operation the driver may feel a pulsing in the brake pedal; this comes from the rapid opening and closing of the valves. The Antilock Braking System ABS prevents the locking the wheel during hard braking and ensures the vehicle remains steerable and is brought to a standstill quickly and safely. Evidently, Antilock brakes are needed to effectively help drivers avoid and prevent threatening car accidents.