Researchers at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University and Michigan-based REL Inc. on Jan. 17 announced that they are working on a one-piece aluminum-composite brake rotor that they estimate will shave about 30 lb (14 kg) from a midsize sedan while offering triple the brake life expectancy. Because of high costs, composite brakes today are restricted to motorcycles, racecars, and high-performance sports cars, according to the researchers. They expect to have a functional prototype ready within a year. The innovation is incorporating ceramic particles into an aluminum alloy in such a way to accommodate the differing strain and thermal impacts of the three functional zones common to rotors. Rotors today typically are made of a single material: cast iron.