This review article comprises of three parts. Firstly, reports of brake manufacturers on the beneficial impact of solid lubricants for pad formulations are surveyed. Secondly, since tribofilms were identified to play a crucial role in friction stabilization and wear reduction, the knowledge about tribofilm structures formed during automotive braking was reviewed comprehensively. Finally, a model for simulating the sliding behavior of tribofilms is suggested and a review on modelling efforts with different model structures related to real tribofilms will be presented. Although the variety of friction composites involved in commercial brake systems is very broad, striking similarities were observed in respect to tribofilm nanostructures. Thus, a generalization of the tribofilm nanostructure is suggested and prerequisites for smooth sliding performance and minimal wear rates have been identified. A minimum of 13 vol % of soft inclusions embedded in an iron oxide based tribofilm is crucial for obtaining the desired properties. As long as the solid lubricants or their reaction products are softer than magnetite, the main constituent of the tribofilm, the model predicts smooth sliding and minimum wear.
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