It appears that carbon fiber can someday be used as an alternative in making powertrain components after Automotive News reported that the House of the Raging Bull is busy developing connecting rods from the said material.
Apparently, it is one of few projects being done at Lamborghini's new Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory in Seattle. Even though it is still in its early prototype stage, Lamborghini did say it veers away from traditional carbon fiber manufacturing like resin-reinforcement and hand-pressing carbon fiber cloth onto each part and baking them.
According to the company, each rod will be made from forged composite. They take a lump of premixed carbon fiber and resin, and drop it into a steel mold. Each mold is then applied with heat and pressure for three minutes. After it's done, each rod will be ready for final cleaning. Lamborghini also stated this avoids the lengthy 12-hour and 3-hour mold transferring in resin and prepreg methods.
When applied in a V12 engine, the company estimated that it will reduce overall weight of the motor by at least 40 – 50 %. The lighter weight will also result in better power and acceleration as claimed by Lamborghini.
Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborghini's head of R&D, said they plan to be the first automaker to release a production car with carbon fiber connecting rods.
“I hope that in one, one-and-a-half years, we are able to finish development and say this can be a part that can be in the future in the engine. I hope that we are able to have something in production soon,” said Reggiani.