GM pushes new technolgy to protect brake rotors
John Calabrese, vice president of Global Vehicle Engineering, said, “GM engineers are pushing forward with innovative technologies that meet the demanding needs of our customers.”
Since its introduction on brake rotors in 2008 on a small scale, the extra protection, dubbed FNC by GM’s engineers after the process used treat the rotor surfaces, has helped reduce warranty claims on brakes by 70 percent. This is significant because in a recent consumer study conducted by GM, four in 10 vehicle owners listed corrosion among the top three bothersome things about their cars.
More than 80 percent of U.S. vehicles are exposed to one or more environmental corrosion creators, such as acid rain, intense sunlight, snow and ice, and road salt. GM brake rotor technical expert Jim Webster and his team of engineeers were confident could eliminate the oxidation brought on by the environment. “Rotors aren’t a cheap thing to replace,” said Webster.
GM engineers developed corrosion protection process that super heats the rotors at 560 degrees Celsius for a day. Inside the nitrogen-rich atmosphere, nitrogen atoms bond to the surface of the steel rotor, hardening and strengthening the rotor.
The name for the technology is Ferritic Nitro-Carburizing, or FNC, and it has most often been used to treat gear sets used in transmissions.
Incorporating a unique surface treatment 10 microns thick, which is about the width of a human hair, FNC creates sufficient friction and allows for effective braking performance while providing corrosion protection.
On vehicles with large open-architecture wheels, showing off wheel hardware, FNC helps keep rotors looking clean and rust-free longer. Right now, the FNC rotor technology is featured on the Buick Lacrosse and Regal as well as on the Chevrolet Malibu, Impala and Volt in North America. It will be featured on more than 80 percent of GM’s vehicles in the U.S. by the 2016 model year. By Joseph Szczesny