The LP700-4 promises to be a technology-driven supercar, and one standout feature is its extensive use of carbon fiber in its construction. In fact, the central structure of the car is made entirely from carbon fiber and has been designed as a monocoque.
This load-bearing structure of the vehicle is engineered as a “single shell” that functions physically as one component, thus taking full advantage of the extreme rigidity of carbon fiber. Formula 1 race cars have been built using this technique for many years--and have proven their crash worthiness time and again.
Not only is this design very safe, it’s also very light. In this case, the LP700-4’s monocoque weighs in at just 324 pounds.
The monocoque is connected at the front and rear with rigid aluminum sub-frames, on which the suspension, engine and transmission are mounted. The entire body-in-white (the body with no moving parts, trim, powertrain or chassis components) of the new V-12 supercar weighs only 505 pounds and boasts a torsional rigidity of 35,000 Newton meters per degree of twist.
Lamborghini is also boasting about developing its carbon fiber components completely in-house. The automaker uses three main techniques for manufacturing the lightweight components: Resin Transfer Molding (RTM), Prepreg and Braiding. For more details on these processes, hit the next page for Lamborghini’s official explanation.
As for more details on the actual car iteself, check out our previous story by clicking here.
Resin Transfer Molding (RTM): In this process the carbon fiber mats are preformed and impregnated with an exact amount of resin. Afterwards, they are cured under heat while the part is in the mold. Lamborghini has achieved a major breakthrough by further developmening this method. Using the patented “RTM-Lambo” process, the final mold is no longer a heavy, complex metal piece, but is made instead from lightweight carbon-fiber parts, thus making the manufacturing process faster, more flexible and more efficient.
An additional benefit of the RTM-Lambo process is the low injection pressure that doesn’t require expensive equipment.
Prepreg: The carbon fiber mats used in this method, commonly known as prepreg, are pre-injected by the supplier with a thermosetting liquid resin and must be stored at a low temperature. The mats are then laminated in molds and cured under heat and pressure in an autoclave. Prepreg components are complex to make, but have an extremely high-quality surface finish (Class-A surface quality) and are therefore the preferred option for use in visible locations.
Braiding: These components are manufactured by using RTM technology. This carbon fiber weave technology is derived from the textile industry and used to make tubular components for special applications such as structural roof pillars and rocker panels. The woven components are made by diagonally interweaving the fiber in several layers.
The monocoque of the new V12 super sports car is constructed using these technologies applied in a series of special processes. One significant advancement Lamborghini realized is the ability to use already-assembled monocoque elements as the mold for the next step in the process. This makes for a considerable simplification of the manufacturing process compared with conventional methods.
Epoxy foam components are also used within the monocoque. They are placed in strategic points to increase the stiffness of the monocoque by working as spacers between the composite layers while also dampening noise and vibration. In addition, aluminum inserts are laminated into the front and rear surfaces to facilitate connection with the aluminum front and rear sub-frame elements.
Quality control is an absolutely crucial factor – every single monocoque is measured to exacting tolerances of only 0.1 millimeters, facilitating the extreme precision of the overall vehicle. Quality control starts with the purchase of the carbon fiber parts. Every delivery of carbon fiber is certified and the material is checked regularly for compliance with quality standards. Lamborghini worked together with its suppliers to develop a world-exclusive fiber and resin system for its RTM technology. Ultimately, these materials and processes constitute an important part of Lamborghini’s worldwide leading expertise in the field.