Historically, the brake industry went from asbestos to semi-metallic pads. And now, many vehicles are incorporating ceramic disc brake pads (like the Hawk Performance Ceramic pads shown). They replace steel fibers for copper, which allows for high brake temperatures with less heat fade. They also generate a significantly less amount of noticeable brake dust. And, of course, they're much quieter—ceramic actually helps combat unwanted sound because it generates noise at a frequency the human ear cannot process.
And finally, according to durability tests that compared ceramic compounds to semi-metallic and other organic materials, the ceramic brake pad lasted longer than other premium pad materials by a significant margin. Long-lasting brake pads are obviously fairly desirable. (And, as a side note, nothing was sacrificed for that long life. Lack of dust and noise were still prominent.)
Read more, then search our collection of brake components according to your vehicle.