Friction Materials 101

Friction Materials 101

Posted on By Matthew Dennehy

Friction Materials 101: A Deep Dive into Friction Materials the Action Clutch Offers

When it comes to replacement parts for automobiles, nothing is trickier than the clutch. This small assembly acts as a lifeline for vehicles and ensures a smooth drive for the occupants.

For someone entering the automobile world, buying the correct clutch assembly would be quite hard. With so many variations in design, stages, and a lot of technical terminologies, you’d be overwhelmed and are likely to get confused.

Our team at Action Clutch strives to be more than a simple parts supplier. We are proud to have a dedicated team of experts who can help you throughout the process and ensure that you get the best parts.

This guide is our brief attempt to help you understand clutches better. We’ll take a look at the basics of the clutch assembly and discuss the significance of friction materials. Clutch friction materials play an important role in the clutch assembly and have their set of strengths and weaknesses. Understanding them will go a long way in helping you make the right choice for your vehicle.  

Clutches Decoded

Automobile clutches generally seem mysterious if you are new. The clutch assembly basically consists of three major components that work together to transfer the engine’s power to the driveshaft. Those three components are:

  • Pressure plate
  • Clutch disc
  • Flywheel

Whenever a clutch is engaged, the pressure plate pushes the clutch disc towards the flywheel, which connects the engine to the driveshaft. The clutch disc is responsible for ensuring the smooth engagement and disengagement of the assembly and needs to withstand tough operating conditions like high heat, wear and tear, etc.

For optimal operations, any clutch plate needs to be able to transmit a large amount of torque coming from the engine without slipping. However, it needs to slip at the time of transition for a smooth experience. Failure to slip when required would either choke the engine or affect the quality of the ride.

The requirement to slip when required and remain engaged at other times makes clutches unique. Any clutch assembly alternates between engaged and disengaged states frequently and needs special friction materials for continuous operations. The next section will take a look at the required qualities from clutch friction materials.

Required qualities from friction materials on a clutch disc

The clutch disc undergoes severe abrasions and contact forces during the engagement and disengagement of the assembly. This produces a lot of mechanical and thermal stress on the material in a very short timeframe.

Any clutch friction material needs the following properties to ensure longevity and performance of the clutch assembly:

  • High coefficient of friction to minimize the chances of slipping during operations
  • High heat absorption
  • Ability to withstand the high torque and RPM from the engine
  • Ability to sustain mechanical stresses from compression, centrifugal force, and other sources
  • High endurance and fatigue life to ensure consistent and reliable performance over a long time
What does it mean to break in a clutch and why is it important?

No matter how precise the processes were, many manufactured assemblies will have small discrepancies.

Clutches are no different. The metal surfaces in a new clutch will not come in full contact when engaged. The break-in process allows you to let all the metal parts sit together as intended for optimal performance. Without this, you won’t be able to get the best performance out of your car.

The process required to break in a clutch is fairly simple. All you’ll need to do is to put street miles on your newly installed clutch without putting too much load. You’ll need to keep the rpm under 4500 and refrain from accelerating too aggressively. Engage and disengage it multiple times to heat up the metal parts inside and allow them to fit together.

Find the perfect staged kits at Action Clutch

The friction material your clutch disc uses plays an essential role in keeping your car smooth and under your control. Without the right one, you’ll find yourself experiencing a weaker performance or an unnecessarily rough drive.

However, finding the right material with the best friction coefficient, heat dissipation, and other mechanical properties is not as easy as it sounds. At Action Clutch, we offer several different clutch stages including our Ironman and multi-disc kits designed for heavy-duty racing applications. Here’s a small breakdown of each clutch stage we offer:

  • Stage 1: Designed for stock and basic bolt-on cars. The stage 1 kit offers a 70% increased holding capacity with smooth engagement. This kit is best for street use and caters to the need of a daily driver.
  • Stage 2: 110% holding capacity over stock with an exceptional lifespan. It is designed for both street use and an occasional track visit. However, you’ll have to spend more time on the break-in process which will take 1000 miles.
  • Stage 3: A powerful option with 170% increased holding capacity. If you are a heavy-duty street user. Then this is the best choice for you. The clutch kit offers super quick engagement and long-lasting performance under versatile conditions.
  • Stage 4: Specifically designed for Drag/Drift and is not recommended for street use. This clutch kit offers a 170% holding capacity and has minimal clutch chatter when compared with similar offerings by other brands.
  • Stage 5: 200% holding capacity over stock, designed for race applications, and offers an on/off engagement. Stage 5 clutch kits are primarily designed for heavily modified vehicles you see on the track.
  • Stage 6: another powerful option with 200% increased holding capacity and high-performance specs. Must never be used with lightly modified and stock cars for street use as this kit is specifically designed for the track and come with an rigid clutch disc for more powerful engagement.
  • Ironman: Enhanced holding capacity of up to 250% over stock, enhanced durability, and unmatched performance. The Ironman clutch kits are designed for track use only and are available with a sprung or rigid hub.

For each clutch stage, we offer premium safety features that ensure no damage occurs to your investment in the long run. We have a fool-proof system with multiple quality checks before and after the assembly to ensure your safety.

The friction materials you can find at Action Clutch

At Action Clutch, our commitment to quality and safety sets us apart from our competitors and allows us to deliver a perfect balance between safety, quality, and overall costs. The friction materials we use on our staged clutch kits goes through a comprehensive testing process to ensure reliability and continuous performance.

We strive to deliver the ideal specs for various applications and ensure that all our customers leave satisfied with their clutch’s performance. Whether you are a regular driver looking for a comfortable and durable option or someone who spends the better part of the day on track. Our team at Action Clutch has the perfect solution for you.  

Stage 1:
High-Copper, Kevlar Organic Friction Material

Organic facings are generally a standard in OEM clutches because of their excellent balance between mechanical properties and smooth performance. They offer decent strength which makes them a perfect choice for regular drivers.



Our stage 1 clutches use a High-Copper, Kevlar Organic friction material to enhance the holding capacity by 70% when compared with stock torque numbers. With these kits, you get the perfect blend of performance, engagement, and smooth transitions. Compared to others, our Kevlar-infused kits last for a longer time and deliver a better overall performance.

We recommend a break in period of 500 miles on our stage 1 kits to ensure best performance and longevity.

Stage 2:
Full Face Segmented Kevlar® Friction Material

You might have heard of Kevlar®, It’s the primary material used in bulletproof vests and other impact-absorbing applications. Our stage 2 kits use it as its clutch friction material which leaves nothing to be desired in terms of durability and smoothness. It generally lasts two or three times longer than any other friction material on the market.



If you are someone who prefers comfort and smooth drive over performance and engagement, then our Kevlar-based clutches are made for you. Our stage 2 Kevlar clutch is known for its smooth engagement and pedal feel.

We recommend carefully breaking in this clutch for the best performance and durability. We recommend you to follow our break-in instructions carefully in order to ensure your clutch lasts for years to come.

Stages 3 and 5:
4 and 6 Puck MIBA Ceramic Friction Material

Ceramic-faced clutches are a popular choice for racing vehicles and other performance applications where you need something to sustain damage due to frequent engagement and disengagement. These clutches are generally made from a mixture of copper, iron, bronze, silicon dioxide, graphite, and other materials.



At Action Clutch, we take the qualities of a ceramic clutch to another level. Our combination of MIBA friction material pads, easy engagement sprung hub, and fully enclosed spring retainers enhance the safety and performance of the assembly. Our stage 3 kits offer 170% holding capacity while our stage 5 kits offer a 200% increased holding capacity over stock. Our stage 3 is designed for heavy-duty use on the street and track, while our stage 5 kit still provides a comfortable street-able drive, but is recommended for primarily track oriented vehicles due to the increased clamp load from the pressure plate.

An important thing to note is that ceramic clutches can be used for daily drivers, but will contribute to premature wear due to the harsher engagement and higher tendencies to slip the clutch.  Ceramic kits are NOT recommended for stock or lightly modified vehicle applications.

Stages 4 and 6:
4 and 6 Puck Rigid MIBA Ceramic Discs

Our stage 4 and 6 kits generally cater to the racing audience with modified cars. They also feature MIBA ceramic friction pads as the primary friction materials and offer greater durability and performance. Our Stage 4 clutches offer a 170% increased holding capacity over stock, while our stage 6 kits offer a 200% increased holding capacity over stock due to the increased clamp load from the pressure plate.



It’s important to remember that rigid clutch kits are not made for lightly modified or stock vehicles you see on the street. These clutches are specially designed for a race purposes and can catastrophically fail if not used properly. Think of it this way, would you ever run a marathon in heels? No, you’d wear a proper running shoe catered to the appropriate application. Using a rigid clutch with an unsuitable use is the same as running in heels.

You must also note that the superior characteristics of these clutches come at a cost. Ceramic clutches compromise on the driving experience. You’ll find these clutches to be a little rough and abrupt when compared to organic or Kevlar-faced clutches. While our team at Action Clutch optimizes the design and other characteristics to minimize this issue, you’ll still feel a difference.

American sintered Iron

For racing applications, Iron-based clutches are the next best choice after ceramics and has the highest holding capacity out of all our single disc kits. The American Sintered Iron material we offer in our Ironman line have a high coefficient of friction and the ability to handle extreme heat making it able to withstand nearly anything you can throw at it.



One thing that sets our Ironman kits apart is their ability to provide the same level of performance and specs as a multi-disc kit. Our Ironman kits provide double the clamping force and an overall smoother engagement. Unlike other kits developed for racing, the Ironman line is an excellent choice for any application where you need quick lock-up and a smoother experience without compromising on thermal properties. We do not recommend this kit for street use and recommend it for race-only applications.

Multi-Disc Kits:
American Sintered Metallic

For racing applications, our multi-disc kits are made to hold serious torque. The American Sintered Metallic material we offer in all of our multi-disc kits, have a high coefficient of friction and the ability to handle extreme heat making it able to withstand nearly anything you can throw at it. Paired with our ventilated 6061-T6 billet aluminum clutch cover design this clutch is made to withstand even the most extreme uses.



Unlike other multi-disc kits on the market that come with an extremely heavy pedal feel and unforgiving engagement, our multi-disc kits offer a much smoother engagement and more manageable pedal feel than the competition thanks to our unique clutch cover design. Aside from the strength, due to the reduction of rotational mass, our multi-disc kits provide a quick throttle response and quick engagement, thanks to our rigid disc design, to get you off the line as fast as possible.

Our multi-disc kits are recommended for all types of racing and track use. One thing we do require, is that a pedal stop be installed along with all multi-disc kits.

Selecting the best clutch materials for your car

You must have heard it multiple times. There’s no such thing as a one size fits all solution when it comes to automobile parts. You’ll always have to compromise on some aspects, like heat tolerance or smooth engagement, over others depending on the usage, budget, car type, and other factors.

The clutch friction material you choose is only one piece of the puzzle. You need to consider several factors including the type of car, your intended use, the modifications done, and most importantly the specific engine power output. Failure to consider all these factors while choosing a clutch kit can cause your clutch to fail and cause damage to the transmission or the engine.

At Action Clutch, we are always available to help you out with making the best choice. You can contact our team through our social media channels, or the inquiries form on the website. Our team members will get back to you with the best advice that helps you enhance your cars without any significant risks.

Stay Gripping with Action Clutch

Clutches are among the most important pieces of the automobile puzzle and our team an Action Clutch understands that. We strive to be more than a simple part supplier and have systems in place to help you get the best clutch for your cars.

Over the last 60 years, Action Clutch has built a relationship of trust with its customers that sets us apart from all the other competitors in the market. All our products are made in USA and go through a strict quality control system to ensure consistency and reliability without any compromise.

If you are looking for an experienced and committed automobile partner to help you get the best for your car, then Action Clutch is the most natural choice. The reason is simple; when our competition slips, we keep gripping.

Want to know more about the perfect clutch for your car? You’re at the right place. Contact our representative now to get started.