Ward’s Auto has published an article summarizing Lexus LFA project manager and vehicle materials expert Nobuya Kawamura’s recent presentation at the JEC Composite exposition in Paris, France.
Kawamura talked about the “never-ending process” of the supercar’s carbon fiber development, which ultimately led to Lexus engineers learning multiple techniques for producing several types of the material, including a switch from thermoset resins to thermoplastic resins (the former can be cured once, the latter can be remolded multiple times), which resulted in increased automation and reduced labor costs. As a result, the LFA is 65% carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), with the remainder largely aluminum.
With the weight savings and unique structural design possibilities offered by carbon fiber (the exterior LFA shell includes design features, such as body pillars, that are only possible through the use of CFRP), it seems likely that such exotic materials will find their way into Lexus models, perhaps starting with the F-marque lineup (maybe with the long-rumored GS F?), or even F-Sport type parts. The future avenues seem quite exciting, to say the least.
[Source: Ward’s Auto]