Making a mass savings of 100 kg (220 lb) for a high-performance car is a significant achievement, and that is what Lamborghini has managed for its new Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce (SV) compared to the regular Murciélago.
Contributing to the savings is the use of a zirconia-based thermal barrier applied to the exhaust tailpipe. Zircotec’s 250 µm (0.0098 in) thick Diamond Black ceramic coating reduces the need for heat shields while allowing heat-sensitive materials to be fitted in close proximity to the single exhaust pipe. The coating offers a 20% reduction in surface temperature. Some 33 kg (73 lb) of the total mass reduction for the car comes from its new powertrain and exhaust system.
"Zircotec helped us in achieving the attention to detail in weight reduction on this program," said Luca Meschiari, Head of Exhausts at Lamborghini. "The coating helps save weight yet is also durable and meets our requirements in terms of performance and quality more than other solutions we have seen."
The coating is applied at Zircotec’s UK facility using gas plasma-spraying at 14,000 K, in effect welding it to the base stainless steel, so making it more resilient during heat cycling and abrasion. It also helps to meet rigorous life-cycle testing requirements. The process involves the application of a bond coat, followed by the Diamond Black ceramic finish.
Zircotec says that the lightweight coating—as low as 0.03 g/cm² for some applications—can offer other benefits beyond heat rejection; by deleting heat shields and wraps, build complexity and time are cut. The latest program for Lamborghini follows that for the 2008 Reventón, where the Diamond Black coating was used to inhibit heat transfer to the closely fitting composite panels around the tailpipe.
Alcoa Wheel Products also played a part in the mass-cutting program for the LP 670-4 SV. It is supplying lightweight forged alloy wheels for the car, which reduce unsprung mass.
"The new Murciélago SV is the product of a substantial cross-car weight-reduction program, and forged wheels are vital to this," explained David Yates, Marketing Manager for Alcoa Europe. "The engineering behind Alcoa’s wheels enables a 20% weight saving over a comparable cast aluminum wheel, benefiting handling and ride."
The exclusive five-twin-spoke wheels were designed to provide a superior metal structure that improves strength and durability, offering the opportunity to create very strong and lightweight wheels. The structure also allows for more material to be milled out to achieve finer detailing while retaining strength. Each front 18 x 8.5-in wheel has a mass of 8.9 kg (19.6 lb); the 18 x 13-in rears each are 12.3 kg (27.1 lb).
Alcoa Wheel Products has been developing, producing, and supplying alloy wheels to the global automotive industry for 60 years. The Murciélago SV project follows on Alcoa/Lamborghini collaboration on the wheels for the Reventón.
Aluminum wheels for Automobili Lamborghini are forged at Alcoa’s Cleveland, OH, plant. Alcoa describes itself as being the world leader in the production and management of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum, and alumina combined through its "active and growing participation in all major aspects of the industry." The company was named one of the top most sustainable corporations at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.