This contribution addresses dry sliding friction of a “Non-Asbestos Organic” friction material (pad) rubbed against a pearlitic grey cast iron disc. This configuration is commonly used in brakes in US, Europe and Asia. The initial stage of friction is of particular interest when addressing “creep-groan” phenomena occurring in passenger and sport utility vehicles with automatic transmissions. The custom built Universal Friction Tester allowing the variation of sliding speed, test temperature, normal load, stiffness and humidity of the system was used in this experiment in combination with surface analysis by polarized light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and stylus profilometry. The obtained results indicate that the “stick” phase in the so-called “stick-slip” phenomenon does not really exist. The surfaces of pad and disc are in continuous relative movement. The complexity of surfaces does not allow for a definitive description of exact mechanisms responsible for the detected changes of friction forces. The observed friction process can be rather described as a stretching with possible localized relaxations causing the jerky behavior in the stretching phase, followed by slip between two materials in contact.
Understanding of factors contributing to the stretching at different scale levels of friction system is necessary for development of proper models. An accurate friction model should also incorporate the vibrational element introduced by phenomena occurring at the friction surfaces. The absence of heterogeneous regions on the friction surface and “evenly distributed friction level” can help when mitigating creep-groan in the investigated brake system. Understanding of factors on different scales of friction is also required when developing the improved brakes.