Lamborghini will test a number of different composite materials in space thanks to a partnership with the Houston Methodist Research Institute.
The Italian car manufacturer will send up various composite materials to the International Space Station via an unmanned rocket. When the samples arrive, they will be studied to examine the effects that the extreme environment of space has on composite materials.
“We are very proud,” Lamborghini chief executive Stefano Domenicali said. “Lamborghini is breaking ground as the first automaker in the world to conduct carbon fiber materials science research on the ISS. In addition to representing an important example of corporate social responsibility, this mission is also fully in line with our philosophy and values. Lamborghini is a brand that has always been committed to going beyond limits in every area of its activity and to being a pioneer in the realm of technology.”
In total, five samples of carbon fiber will be selected and tested. Of particular interest for the biomedical and automotive fields is the 3D-printed continuous-fiber composite which makes it possible to combine the extreme flexibility of “additive manufacturing” with high-level mechanical performance equal to that of high-quality aluminum.
The samples will be on-board the International Space Station for six months and be subjected to huge changes in temperature as well as dosses of ultraviolet radiation, gamma rays, and the flow of atomic oxygen caused by ionization. When the mission is complete, the samples will return to Earth and undergo joint testing by Lamborghini and the Houston Methodist Research Institute to examine the degradation they will have suffered.