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The LFA is the first supersports from the Lexus brand. This handbuilt supersports will be delivered to the world for a maximum of 500 units. Showcased in Boston during JEC Americas, the car uses a lot of carbon made parts.
The LFA employs a unique Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) body to achieve exceptional integrity and light-weight construction.
A trio of sophisticated CFRP molding processes comprises 65% of the chassis structure by yielding a weight saving of 100kg.
Pursuit of new CFRP technology internally results in an advanced new joining process for CFRP and metal alloys.
Internal development means this world-class CFRP technology is primed for future mass production in other Lexus models.
According to Haruhiko Tanahashi, chief engineer of the LFA's development program, keeping the car's overall weight to a minimum would be a fundamental requirement. SO, in a dramatic decision early in the development process, the team switched from aluminium construction to an advanced CFRP body, yielding a weight saving of 100kg over an equivalent aluminium design.
The LFA team also developed an advanced joining technology to bond carbon fiber and metal components. Conventional joining processes use a threaded aluminium insert that is wrapped in the CFRP. However, the LFA uses an innovative system that required no insert or direct CFRP contact by employing a flanged aluminium collar to link the two materials, overcoming inherent weaknesses in such joints.
Process 1: prepreg
Hand-laid process, employing carbon fiber sheets impregnated with thermosetting resin. It creates an extremely stiff and stable structure. On LFA, it is primarily used to form the main cabin frame.
Process 2: RTM
RTM uses pre-formed carbon fiber components, which are later impregnated with thermosetting resin. It is used on the LFA transmission tunnel, floor panel, roof and hood.
Process 3: C-SM
Carbon Fiber Reinforced Sheet Molding Compound uses short carbon fibers pressed into a die. It is used on the LFA C-pilla and the rear flor.
More information: www.lexus.com/LFA