At its newly-opened Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory (ACSL) in Seattle, Lamborghini is continuing development of composite materials through a collaboration with Boeing to mass produce its potentially game-changing Forged Composite®. The company is calling the Forged Composite “one of the most important developments to come from research within the ACSL.” The material is considered a breakthrough composite made by a manufacturing process that significantly cuts the time it takes to make carbon fiber components and yields a sturdier material than traditional carbon fiber weave.
To make it, shredded carbon fiber threads are combined with resin and sandwiched between two steel molds. Then, the composite is heated and placed under 1,200-1,500 psi of pressure. Three minutes later, the component is ready. According to Carbuzz, this significantly undercuts the 24 hours it usually takes to bake layers of carbon fiber cloth separated with resin in an autoclave and also cuts production costs significantly.
The Forged Composite made its debut in 2010 on the 2,200-pound Lamborghini Sesto Elemento, where Lamborghini says it served in a structural capacity and as “proof of how capable the rapid-formed material is.” Since then, the automaker has continuing refining in the manufacturing of the material.
“By continuing to develop our patented Forged Composite materials, we are able to create a product that can enhance Lamborghini super sports cars in both their performance and their appearance,” said Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborghini board member and R&D chief. “The ability to leverage this kind of lightweight material gives Lamborghini an advantage that will benefit our cars – as well as production process – in the future.”
According to Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee, the work the company is doing will have a significant economic impact on the state.
“Seattle is a nexus for innovation and Lamborghini’s choice to base its carbon fiber research center here reflects that,” Inslee said. “Lamborghini’s Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory, their continued success in developing breakthrough technology, and their collaboration with Boeing is a benefit and a point of pride for the city and the state of Washington.”