California Startup Orbis Brakes Debuts its Revolutionary 'Periodic Wave' Brake Line Developed in Collaboration with NASA

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【Summary】California-based startup Orbis Brakes has launched its new “Periodic Wave" disc brake line that uses advanced aerodynamics to provide superior surface cooling. The enhanced cooling helps reduce dangerous brake fade and help extends electric vehicle range. Orbis pioneered its lightweight Periodic Wave brake line in collaboration with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

Eric Walz    Aug 11, 2022 11:15 AM PT
California Startup Orbis Brakes Debuts its Revolutionary 'Periodic Wave' Brake Line Developed in Collaboration with NASA

Conventional vehicle disc brake systems have remained relatively unchanged for decades with the exception of anti-lock brake (ABS) technology. But as automakers develop more powerful electric vehicles with up to 1,000 horsepower and 0 to 60 mph acceleration times of seconds, there is a growing need in the industry for more lightweight and higher performing braking systems.

In order to meet this need, Santa Rosa, California-based startup Orbis Brakes has launched its new "Periodic Wave'' disc brake line that uses advanced aerodynamics to provide superior surface cooling. The enhanced cooling helps reduce dangerous brake fade, extends electric vehicle range, as well as the fuel efficiency of conventional vehicles.

Orbis pioneered its design innovation for the Periodic Wave brake line in collaboration with engineers from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. The collaboration came after Orbis created a lightweight and lower cost high-performance brake setup for the high performance Tesla Model S Plaid.

The result of the collaboration was the Orbis Periodic Wave Disc Brake Rotor, which offers significantly improved performance for potential applications in high performance sports cars, motorcycles, and more importantly for electric vehicles (EVs) like the Tesla Model S Plaid equipped with regenerative braking systems.

The Periodic Wave brake rotors are roughly 3x lighter and 2x thinner than traditional cast iron rotors.

A traditional cast iron brake rotor that depends on less effective internal venting to dissipate heat. The heavy cast iron brake rotor design has been relatively unchanged for decades. But the Periodic Wave cooling technology allows heat to be shed from spinning, which Orbis says cools 2x faster than conventional brakes. Having a cooler rotor surface also reduces pad wear, brake dust, and brake fade.

The teams at NASA combined the proprietary concepts of forced convection, radiation, and conduction of airflow over the brake rotor's surface to help keep it cooler.

"This is a collaboration of some of the smartest people on the planet," says Orbis co-CEO and co-Founder Marcus Hays. "We decided from the beginning that it wasn't innovation unless it produced real-world results, and that's exactly what we've done."

The periodic wave rotor technology developed also offers dramatic weight reduction along with its superior heat dissipation, two of the primary challenges associated with high performance braking systems. These high performance braking systems are often much larger and therefore much heavier.

Depending on the application, the rotor can be made from either steel or titanium, which further reduces weight.

Boosting performance includes decreasing the rotational moment of inertia and brake-system weight, which allow the vehicle to accelerate faster, change direction better, and require less energy when performing these and other maneuvers.

For EV applications, decreasing electrical energy expenditure helps to boost range. The Periodic Wave disc brake rotor can be installed on existing vehicles with either hub-mounted or wheel rim-mounted brake systems.

The Orbis family of braking systems also have a lower environmental impact. The brakes weigh 50% less on average than conventional cast iron brakes and are made with 100% recyclable iron. It reduces the energy needed to manufacture them by half and lowers carbon consumption across the supply chain. 

Orbis says that a global transition to its Periodic Wave brake technology could remove billions of pounds of Co2 from the atmosphere.

The Periodic Wave design also reduces so-called "brown emissions", which are the particulate matter from brakes, tires, and road surfaces.

The NASA collaboration with Orbis was part of its Technology Transfer Program, which develops technology to benefit US citizens. Through partnerships and licensing agreements with companies like Orbis, the program ensures that NASA's investments in pioneering research find secondary uses to support the economy, create jobs, and improve quality of life.

Orbis Brakes' first brake product was the NextWave, a superlight disc brake rotor and pad expected to retail at a fraction of comparable performance brakes. The company's EcoWave is an environmentally-driven high-performance replacement brake rotor and pad set priced to compete with entry-level braking systems. 

The company will soon introduce LightWave, a lightweight high-performance replacement rotor, monoblock caliper, and vented pad, as well as CarbonWave, the world's first integral wheel and brake, delivering what Orbis claims is the lowest unsprung weight in the industry. 

Orbis Brakes plans to launch its NextWave brake line in Q3 2022. The company's EcoWave brake line is slated to be launched in Q1 2023. The company is currently taking pre-orders at its website: 

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