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Old 10-11-2009, 09:50 AM   #1
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Default Lamborghini partners with university on composites

Seattle, Washington – Lamborghini has partnered with the University of Washington (UW) to further research into lightweight composite technologies, marking the first time the automaker has collaborated with a U.S. university.

Lamborghini has committed to provide substantial funding for lab equipment and student support at the new Automobili Lamborghini Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory. During the past two years, the university has hosted Lamborghini engineers for month-long periods, faculty have travelled to Italy to conduct small classes on the fundamentals of composites design and certification, and the university has sent engineering graduate students for internships at Lamborghini’s headquarters in Bologna.

“Lamborghini remains committed to investing in its future, and advancing carbon fibre composite technologies is the key to achieving many of our goals,” said Stephan Winkelmann, president of Lamborghini. “The UW and its collaborations have enabled Automobili Lamborghini to proceed with confidence in the development of innovative, composite-intensive structures.”

The lab’s equipment includes a lightning-strike generator for simulated lightning strikes up to 100,000 amps; a drop tower for inflicting damage for foreign objects; a pneumatic crash sled capable of crushing full-size vehicle prototypes; and a high-speed video camera that can take 82,000 frames per second.

The presidents of Lamborghini and the University of Washington were both on hand recently as UW opened its Automobili Lamborghini Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory. As you might guess from that title, the Italian supercar maker is officially teaming up with the Washington school to work on advanced composites. The new Lambo Lab will get a healthy donation for equipment and student support from Lamborghini, and the university will provide research on composite structures and materials, something they know pretty well from working on projects like the 787 Dreamliner for Boeing.

The two organizations have actually been working together for the past two years. Lamborghini engineers have been using the UW lab for months at a time, and UW faculty have flown to Italy to teach classes in Bologna. Graduate students have even been serving internships at Lamborghini. Now that's an non-paying job we'd be willing to work.

After reading the full press release, however, we might not be so enthusiastic about raising our hands to volunteer in the lab. They have one of the best lightning-strike generators around, used to simulate lightning strikes at up to 100,000 amps. The lab also features a pneumatic crash sled and a drop tower to simulate damage from falling objects. We can just see it now, a special edition UW Lambo in Huskies' purple and gold. A couple of photos are in the gallery and the full press release is after the jump. Thanks for the tip, Andrew!

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