Lamborghini has opened a new carbon fiber research facility in Seattle, Washington.
Called the Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory (ACSL), the new facility operates as an entity outside Lamborghini’s headquarters and is responsible for unlocking new potential in carbon fiber. The grand opening of the facility also marks the 30th anniversary of Lamborghini’s use of carbon fiber reinforced polymer in its vehicles, and the Italian automaker will use the breakthroughs from the ACSL to influence developments in Lamborghinis of the future.
Seattle was chosen as a strategic location for the facility particularly because of Lamborghini’s collaboration with Boeing in working toward carbon fiber innovations that are beneficial to both automotive and aerospace applications. One of the most important developments to come from research within the ACSL is Forged Carbon Composite, which shortens the amount of production time needed to form components compared to traditional labor techniques for regular carbon fiber, Lamborghini said. It’s faster to make and requires less energy than traditional carbon fiber.
The facility houses some impressive technology, but one of the most interesting things we learned during our tour of ACSL is that Lamborghini tests its carbon fiber products in a machine that simulates a lightning strike. This was necessary for its partnership with Boeing, as it is the first aerospace company to have a fuselage made of carbon fiber, and planes get struck by lightning all the time, so the material has to be strength tested to see how much damage it can withstand. Click here to see the actual machine they use.
Lamborghini also claims that it is the only company in the whole world certified to repair carbon fiber.
Forged Composite made its debut in 2010 with the Sesto Elemento and continued refinements in the process have allowed Lamborghini to enhance its finished product for structural and aesthetic application in 2013. The material will be used extensively in the upcoming Urus SUV, and also when it’s time to replace the Huracan and Aventador.
“Carbon fiber is a material that Lamborghini has a long history with,” said Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali. “Starting with the Countach Quattrovalvole and continuing today, it is one of the most important keys to the success of our cars in the past, present and future.”
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