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Are your brakes Copper-free?

August 26 / 2020

Brake pads used to contain flecks of Copper. This copper assisted in conducting and resisting heat, achieving a smooth braking experience and preventing brakes from squeaking and shuddering. Many people, however, do not realise that tiny copper particles from brake pads negatively affect the environment.

How do Copper Brake Pads affect the environment?

During braking, fine particles of copper powder and other metals within the pads are deposited on the road. This brake dust, is then washed into the water eco system. If you’re 4WDing or towing heavy loads, there is extra pressure on your braking system. Couple that with river crossings, and 4WDing is a particularly high-risk activity when it comes to emitting brake dust into the waterways.

In the late 1990s, environmentalists raised the concern that excessive copper entering waterways was negatively impacting the environment. Because metals do not break down, all metals that flow into stormwater will end up in the environment forever. Higher than usual copper concentrations can have a toxic effect on fish, reptiles and plant ecosystems in our rivers and lakes. While there are many copper products and by-products in public waterways, the environmentalists argued that brake dust was the largest contributor.

What is Protex doing about this?

Acknowledging that there is a global movement away from copper in brake pads, and although it is not law in Australia, we are getting in early and moving away from Copper in our brake pads. The Protex R&D team have been developing a copper-free material for 2.5 years. Our ceramic, copper-free alternative is more expensive to produce but offers high fade resistance, very high and stable coefficient of friction (GG) over a wide temperature range. This offers drivers predictable stopping performance in both hot and cold conditions.

Which Protex Brake Pads are copper-free?

We can proudly say that both our high-end ceramic brake pads, Protex Ultra 4WD and Protex Ultra Plus ranges are copper-free. The pads contain zero copper or other heavy metals (and of course no asbestos), providing less environmental impact without compromising performance. Our Protex Ultra Select pads, although not ceramic, also contain no copper. They are made from semi-metallic material and are an ideal solution for a wide range of vehicles including heavy-duty and specialist applications. While our standard Protex Ultra Ceramic pads are not copper free, they contain under 5% which is considered low copper.

What you can do to help.

Next time you are changing the brake pads on your vehicle ask for the copper-free option. It could make a world of difference.

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