Gray cast iron (GCI) is a popular automotive brake disc material by virtue of its high melting point as well as excellent heat storage and damping capability. GCI is also attractive because of its good castability and machinability, combined with its cost-effectiveness. Although several lightweight alloys have been explored as alternatives in an attempt to achieve weight reduction, their widespread use has been limited by low melting point and high inherent costs. Therefore, GCI is still the preferred material for brake discs due to its robust performance. However, poor corrosion resistance and excessive wear of brake disc material during service continue to be areas of concern, with the latter leading to brake emissions in the form of dust and particulate matter that have adverse effects on human health. With the exhaust emission norms becoming increasingly stringent, it is important to address the problem of brake disc wear without compromising the braking performance of the material. Surface treatment of GCI brake discs in the form of a suitable coating represents a promising solution to this problem. This paper reviews the different coating technologies and materials that have been traditionally used and examines the prospects of some emergent thermal spray technologies, along with the industrial implications of adopting them for brake disc applications.
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