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The long awaited successor to the Murciélago, the Aventador LP700-4, recently unveiled at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show, is the first flagship from Lamborghini to feature a production carbon fibre chassis, manufactured using an Araldite resin system by Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM).
Lamborghini has been working with carbon fibre composites for 30 years, being responsible for the first carbon fibre component on a production car and the first carbon fibre tub on a road car. Composites were also used to produce all of the body panels and several portions of the Murciélago’s spaceframe structure, when it was in production between 2002 and 2010.
In order to meet increasingly stringent environmental regulations, Lamborghini’s corporate strategy is now directed at increasing the power-to-weight ratios of its cars, reducing the overall weight and thereby reducing vehicle emissions. To achieve this goal, the company has identified carbon fibre composites as a key technology. It is committed to become a ‘Centre of Excellence’, promoting collaboration and developing best practices to maximise the use of composite materials in production vehicles, as well as driving technological advancement in this area forward.
The company’s current R&D activities are aimed at the development of composite-intensive primary structures that meet weight, cost and production rate requirements, to fulfil the corporate strategy. This involves the evaluation of non-conventional technologies as well as the development of new ones, and Lamborghini is focusing on liquid resin processes (VaRTM and RTM), oven-cure prepregs, preforming technologies (braiding, non-crimp fabrics and thermoforming), and advanced compression moulding.
The first project to come out of the company’s new corporate strategy is the Aventador LP700-4’s carbon composite chassis. Designed, developed and manufactured at Lamborghini’s headquarters at Sant’Agata Bolognese, where all the bull signed cars are manufactured, this carbon chassis is also expected to be built into other Lamborghinis in the future.
Lamborghini produced the bulk of the chassis with the support of Huntsman Advanced Materials, who provided an Araldite resin system especially adapted for Lamborghini’s ‘RTM-Lambo’; a Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) processing technique.
The entire passenger cell of the Aventador, including the roof, weighs just 147.5kg.
“”The Araldite resin system developed by Huntsman has been extremely well adapted for the ‘RTM-Lambo’ technique. It has excellent mechanical and curing properties and a suitable viscosity profile versus time, allowing us to meet rigorous performance and cost requirements,”” explained Luciano De Oto, Head of Lamborghini Advanced Composite Research Center (ACRC). “”To fulfil increasing production rates as we move forward with our strategy to deploy more carbon fibre in the future generations of our high performance cars, this RTM process is the answer.””
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