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Drum brake systems have hydraulic wheel cylinders, brake shoes and a brake drum which fits over the assembly (shown with brake drum removed). When the brake pedal is applied, the two curved brake shoes (which have a friction material lining) are pressed by the hydraulic wheel cylinders against the inner surface of the rotating brake drum.
The result of this contact produces friction, absorbing the vehicles momentum, which forces the vehicle to slow down or stop.
A disc brake system consists of a brake disc, brake calliper and brake pads. When the brake pedal is applied, pressurised hydraulic fluid squeezes the brake pad friction material against the surface of the rotating brake disc. The result of this contact again produces friction, and forces the vehicle to a halt.
Disc brakes are generally more efficient than the older drum brakes, and most production vehicles are now fitted exclusively with disc brakes.