How was Forged Composite Technology Invented?
Hey fans, here is a brief write-up to quickly take you through what Forged Composite technology is, and how it was invented.
Forged Composite: The Invention
The story of how Forged Composite was invented goes back to the mid-2000s. Italian automobile manufacturer Lamborghini had been attempting to reduce composite part cost and increase the rate of production since 2007. One of the goals of Lamborghini was to replace forged aluminum suspension control arms which are used in its manufacturing processes with carbon fiber suspension control arms.
Lamborghini teamed up with Callaway Golf Company and the University of Washington, and collectively undertook extensive R&D to develop a material with superior resistance to fatigue and moisture, high resistance to damage and flaws, lower elasticity modulus compared to aluminum, great mechanical durability, and higher adaptability to suit product designers’ needs, among other things.
What is Forged Composite?
Forged Composite is essentially an upgrade on existing carbon fiber technology. Paolo Feraboli, founder and head of the Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory, and inventor of Forged Composite technology describes it as ‘a revolution in Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) compounds’.
According to Feraboli, Forged Composite is not a specific material or a single process, but a comprehensive technology that combines material characteristics, process specifications, and engineering and design knowledge, which, when fused together, allows for the creation of a composite carbon fiber part.
How is it Different from Regular Carbon Fiber?
Typically, carbon fiber is made usable by laying it up in sheet form and infusing it with resin.
Forged Composite, on the other hand, is a unique technology which involves using a paste of fibers mixed with a resin to be squeezed out into various forms.
Forged Composite starts off as a sheet of uncured plastic, and is mixed with short randomly placed carbon fiber strands. Unlike traditional carbon fiber sheets, this material does not require careful cutting and precise laying into molds. Once the right mass has been cut and placed into a hot press mold, it is squeezed under high pressure, heated, and voila! — You have an object that is as light and stiff as a traditionally created carbon fiber object; only this one is produced in minutes instead of hours.
The Mastermind behind Forged Composite Technology:
Lamborghini invited Paolo Feraboli, Founder and Head of the Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory, to assist with research and development. Feraboli had previously experimented with chopped carbon fibers and realized that this material was in fact very hardy, and immune to a lot of wear and tear. It was also easier to mold into complex geometries. These qualities rendered chopped carbon fibers very useful for making complex parts with many holes and fastenings.
The discovery ultimately led to the development of Forged Composite technology, an advanced compression molding technique that utilizes carbon fiber sheet molding compounds. Forged Composite technology holds much promise for the future of creating lightweight, good looking products of varying sizes and shapes, with enhanced functionality and durability.