Recently, Lamborghini made headlines with the inauguration of its new Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory (ACSL) in Seattle, which is continuing development of a novel carbon fiber, Forged Composite®. The composite significantly cuts the time it takes to make carbon fiber components and yields a sturdier material than traditional carbon fiber weave. Lamborghini called it “one of the most important developments” being done at the new laboratory.
Last week, in an interview with Automotive News, Lamborghini revealed a unique application where its Forged Composite could be used: carbon fiber connecting rods in a V-12 engine. Connecting rods are what connect the pistons to the engine’s crankshaft. As CNET explains, these parts move at incredibly high speeds and operate at high temperatures. The lighter they are, the quicker the engine can rev up. That’s why carbon fiber is a good choice for connecting rod material – it is light and strong.
According to Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborghini board member and R&D chief, Lamborghini’s goal is to have the world’s first production car with carbon fiber connectors.
“I [hope] that in one, one-and-a-half years, we are able to finish development and say this can be a part that can be in the future in the engine,” Reggiani said. “I hope that we are able to have something in production soon.” He added that would be possible in car introduced by 2020 or 2021, which would succeed the Lamborghini Aventador.
The Forged Composite technique moves beyond using carbon fiber prepregs or resin transfer molding, which injects the resin into a mold under high pressure. Instead, they take a pre-mixed lump of carbon fibers and resin, drop it into a mold and apply heat and pressure. Three minutes later, a piece ready for finishing, which is drastically less time than the traditional 12-hour and 3-hour cycle times of prepreg and resin transfer molding, respectively.
“These materials, this research represents the future of our automotive vision,” said Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali.