Project #3: Lamborghini Sesto Elemento tub
The Lamborghini Sesto Elemento concept car, literally named the “Sixth Element” to represent carbon on the Periodic Table of Elements, was designed to be a test bed for carbon fiber technology. The Sesto Elemento used the research conducted at the ACSL and Callaway to complete carbon fiber testing in less than a year. The ACSL began working with the project in 2009 and the Sesto Elemento debuted at the 2010 Paris Auto Show in October. The Sesto Elemento uses Forged Composite to lighten the car weight to approximately 2,200 pounds—which is 1,000 pounds lighter than the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera—and increase the power to weight ratio. The Sesto Elemento is powered by the same V10 engine as the Gallardo Superleggera, enabling the carbon fiber super car to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 2.5 seconds instead of 3.4 seconds. The car uses carbon fiber extensively throughout the vehicle, including Forged in the tub and suspension arms. Lamborghini replaced vacuum-assisted resin transfer (VARTM) molded parts to focus on testing Forged Composite technology and developing CFRP parts at higher production volumes.
“There were a couple of good surprises that came out of the Sesto Elemento’s development. For example, we didn’t realize a Forged tub would work as well as it did. The whole manufacturing process only took five minutes. That was a good confirmation that exceeded our hope and expectations,” says Feraboli. According to Lamborghini, the same part would normally take a full day using VARTM, three to four days with a woven The Lamborghini team building one of the 20 Sesto Elementos that will be released in 2013. 36 Composites Manufacturing prepeg, and four to five days with a prepeg. The next step for further integration of this technology into other car designs is to develop a repair strategy for the carbon fiber parts. “As you can imagine, if a plane on the runway gets hit by a servicing truck, or if a car gets hit on the highway, the repair technician will need to know exactly what kind of damage has occurred. So we have developed a strategy with Boeing to conduct research on the repair process,” says Feraboli.