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October 15, 2009updated Feb 08, 2013

Lamborghini Leads Development Of Carbon Fiber

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. officially unveiled the “Automobili Lamborghini Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory” (ACSL) yesterday with an event held at the University of Washington. The unveiling of the lab publicly marks the leading super sports car manufacturer’s commitment to investing in the future of carbon fiber technologies by partnering with leaders in aerospace and composite material development, including University of Washington and The Boeing Company.   

Lamborghini has made a substantial financial contribution to the ACSL with the goal of furthering the university’s long-time research in aeronautics and astronautics with partners such as The Boeing Company and the Federal Aviation Administration for application in super sports car development. Lamborghini intends to utilize the studies conducted through the ACSL to develop future vehicles with lighter, stronger and more versatile materials.    

“Lamborghini remains committed to investing in its future, and advancing carbon fiber composite technologies is the key to achieving many our goals,” said Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. “As Lamborghini has long been influenced by aerospace technology, the University of Washington’s collaboration with The Boeing Company and the Federal Aviation Administration is the complementary fit to furthering our research and development programs that will continue to set the benchmark in carbon fiber technology.”  

The ACSL has already contributed significantly to Lamborghini’s impact in certification methodology for carbon fiber composite materials. Lamborghini has collaborated with ACSL head Professor Paolo Feraboli on research projects since 2001. In 2007, the super sports car manufacturer increased activities with projects focused on “Crash Behavior of Composite Automotive Primary Structures.” Since 2008, Lamborghini has contracted a research project with the Advanced Structures Technology Group of Boeing Research & Technology, with the ACSL supporting the research collaboration.  

“Partnerships between the University of Washington and industry leaders like Lamborghini give our students the advantage of working on real-world problems,” said University of Washington President Mark Emmert. “We are excited that University of Washington researchers and Lamborghini engineers will be collaborating to bring innovative materials to the automobile industry.”

Carbon fiber is ideal for use in super sports car manufacturing due to the density of the material, which is far lower than steel. Substituting steel with carbon fiber reduces weight, which not only enhances the performance of the vehicle by increasing the power-to-weight ratio, but also lowers CO2 emissions by reducing the overall mass. Carbon fiber is also stiffer than other materials, thus creating better handling characteristics. In addition, carbon fiber provides greater manufacturing versatility, decreases the time it takes to make parts and simplifies the structure of the components. These key points provide proof that carbon fiber is the best material for nearly all applications which are essential for creating Lamborghini’s extreme, uncompromising and unmistakably Italian super sports cars.

The ACSL will provide the setting for testing and characterization, manufacturing and machining of carbon fiber materials.

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