Lightweight garage #27 Forged Composites in the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento

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Lightweight garage, News
©Danico MartinsLamborghini Sesto Elemento

The vehicle

This garage houses the Sesto Elemento sports car from the Italian car manufacturer Lamborghini. It was first presented in a non-roadworthy version at the Paris Motor Show in 2010. The production model then followed in 2012 and was limited to 20 vehicles. For a unit price of USD 2.9 million, the wealthy buyers were offered a lot. The 570 hp V10 engine develops a torque of 539 Nm in combination with the sequential six-speed gearbox and all-wheel drive. This allows the car to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in just 2.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 350 km/h.

The technology

The special feature of this vehicle is the use of Forged Composite for the first time. This composite material has been developed by Lamborghini since 2008 and sets new standards as a lightweight construction material for super sports cars.

In contrast to traditional components made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), forged composite does not consist of interwoven continuous fibers, but of short fibers. These chopped fibers, which are embedded in a resin matrix, allow a freedom in shaping that would be unattainable with conventional manufacturing. The transition to a manufacturing process similar to injection molding enables the production of 3D contours, wall thickness transitions, holes and other form elements. In addition, the cycle time is significantly reduced, which allows components to be produced more cost-effectively. The reason for this is the elimination of layer-by-layer build-up, which often has to be done by hand. Another advantage is the possibility of using recycled carbon fibers, which are obtained from offcuts or old, continuous fiber-reinforced components.

When using forged composites, it should be borne in mind that the mechanical properties are different from those of conventional CFRP laminates. The material behaves almost isotropically and does not have one or more preferred directions with particularly high strength and stiffness values.

©Bw570, Forged composite in the prototype of an engine compartment cover

The lightweight aspect

The vehicle name Sesto Elemento means fifth element and is derived from the fifth element of the periodic table: carbon. And this name is no coincidence: a large part of the vehicle is made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastics. Depending on the requirements, classic CFRP components or forged composites are used for structural components, front and rear spoilers, hood, rear bumper and diffuser. As the material has only a third of the density of titanium with similar strength, an incredibly low vehicle weight of just 999 kg can be achieved.

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