The era of aluminum and steel is stepping aside for the age of composites, and research being conducted at the Automobili Lamborghini Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory at the University of Washington is attracting industry partners from around the world, ensuring the state’s leadership in the field.
International companies such as Volvo, Audi, Quantum Composites, Innovative Composites Engineering and Mitsubishi Rayon are accessing Lamborghini's expertise and
excellence in carbon fiber technology, says Professor Paolo Feraboli, the laboratory's director.
“We have a unique facility that enables us to follow the entire process for the development for a composite part – from concept to prototype to manufacture to testing. We also have a unique ability to tie the top composites knowledge derived from aerospace and apply it to any other field, including design criteria, analysis practices and others," he says.
The lab, located at the University of Washington’s Aeronautics College of Engineering, is an example of how the state’s educational institutions provide support for the aerospace industry, as well as partner in the automotive, recreational and infrastructure industries.
When an industry partner makes a request, the Automobili Lamborghini lab performs contract work in the form of standardized or specialty composite material testing. The lab also provides research on composite materials and structures that are of particular relevance to ensuring the safety of present and future aircraft and ground vehicles.
Current research is exploring composite uses in airframes, developing standardized models for testing the crashworthiness of materials and studying how lightning affects composites.