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Lamborghini to become first automobile manufacturer to study carbon fiber in space

Lamborghini has partnered with Houston Methodist Research Institute to study the effects of space on carbon fiber.

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

A partnership between Automobili Lamborghini and the Houston Methodist Research Institute will send carbon fiber composite materials into space for experimentation then return them to Earth for study.

No earlier than November 2, a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket carrying the material will be launched from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Its destination is the International Space Station.

Lamborghini International Space Station technology research Houston Lamborghini hopes to use the results of the study to impact product development here on Earth.Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

The launch is part of a testing campaign sponsored by the ISS U.S. National Laboratory and overseen by the Houston Methodist Research Institute. Its aim is to analyze the response of five different composite materials produced by Lamborghini to the extreme stresses induced by the space environment. The results could have numerous real world impacts, including applications in future automobiles, prosthetic implants, and subcutaneous devices.

The five samples of composite materials include a 3D-printed continuous-fiber composite, which Lamborghini says makes it possible to combine the extreme flexibility of "additive manufacturing" with high-level mechanical performance, a strength equal to that of a good quality aluminum for structural uses. This particular material is very important in the biomedical field.

The materials will be aboard the ISS for six months, during which time they will be subjected to extreme thermal excursion cycles ranging from -40 degrees to 200 degrees centigrade. They will also experience high levels of ultraviolet radiation, gamma rays, and the flow of atomic oxygen caused by ionization.

Lamborghini International Space Station technology research Houston After the mission is complete, the samples will be brought back to Earth for additional study.Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

Post-mission, the materials will be returned to Earth and undergo joint testing by Automobili Lamborghini and the Houston Methodist Research Institute in an effort to qualify degradation in terms of chemical, physical, and mechanical properties.

Lamborghini currently uses composite materials throughout its lineup, with carbon fiber playing an instrumental role in the company's entire product range. The company is providing its expertise and materials free of charge for the study.

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Americans have complaints about their car insurance companies.

Photo by Getty Images

A new study by ValuePenguin discovered what Americans dislike about the top insurance companies in the country. The research found that customers were most likely to gripe about claims-related issues, but not always for the same reason.

The top 10 insurance companies are Allstate, Farmers, Chubb, GEICO, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm, USAA, and Travelers. All of these companies offer auto insurance alongside other type of insurance.

The study used data collected from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). These results are specific to the auto industry.

Allstate and GEICO customers were most irritated by delays while Farmers, Progressive, State Farm, and Travelers clients complained most about unsatisfactory settlements/offers.

Value Penguin insurance companies Photo courtesy of ValuePenguin

About three-quarters of complaints directed at GEICO dealt with claims, typically with claims delays and unsatisfactory settlement offers.

Chubb customers were much less likely to complain about a claims issue. Only 43 percent of complaints made about that insurer involved claims. Instead, customers said they weren't happy with the company's sales and marketing process. "Misrepresentation" of coverage offerings was the single most common complaint among Chubb customers, and Chubb received more complaints regarding this issue than any other insurer ValuePenguin looked at.

Liberty Mutual was plagued by complaints over adjuster handling while the chief issue for Nationwide customers was the denial of a claim.

The NAIC's Complaint Index compares the number of complaints an insurer has received with its size. When this criteria is taken into account, Nationwide has the fewest complaints among the top car insurance insurers. Liberty Mutual car insurance customers are 96 percent as likely to file a complaint as they would at another insurer. Though it sounds high, this still beats the national average.

Here are all the Auto Complaint Index ratings for the top insurers:

  • Allstate - 0.6
  • Chubb - 0.51
  • Farmers - 0.86
  • GEICO - 0.81
  • Liberty Mutual - 0.96
  • Nationwide - 0.43
  • Progressive - 0.78
  • State Farm - 0.69
  • Travelers - 0.62
  • USAA - 0.69

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Carvana has revealed which used cars customers are searching for the most.

Photo courtesy of Carvana

Used car seller Carvana has released its list of the used vehicles that are most sought after by Texas shoppers. The list is mostly made up of the usual suspects - perennial best-sellers in their class. Cars, trucks, and SUVs are all represented in the rankings.

One of the most popular models is the Ford F-150, a full-size truck that is the best-selling vehicle in the country. Its rivals, the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Toyota Tundra, and Nissan Titan do not make the list.

Despite being the best-selling new SUV, the Toyota RAV4 does not make thIs list of used vehicles in high demand in Texas. However, its competition does. The Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, and Ford Escape are popular in Texas's biggest cities.

Carvana has vending machine locations in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas. The company can also deliver vehicles to customers. What's popular in those towns? They have broken the list down by city. You can find Houston's most popular here, Austin's here, San Antonio's info here, and Dallas picks here.

Here are the top five used vehicles Texas shoppers are searching for.

No. 5 - Ford Fusion

2019 Ford Fusion


Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Ford Fusion is a comfortable commuter car. It is available in a hybrid version, which achieves excellent fuel economy. All Fusion models share a similar interior design with comfortable seating and an easy-to-use infotainment system.

No. 4 - Nissan Altima

2020 Nissan Altima

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Altima was recently redesigned but even if you go for an older model, you'll still be getting a comfortable and fuel-efficient midsize car.

No. 3 - Nissan Rogue

2019 Nissan Rogue Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Rogue delivers premium level appointments in higher grades and can come equipped with the company's high-tech driver assistance system - just two of the factors that make it desirable.

No. 2- Toyota Camry

2019 Toyota Camry Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The Toyota Camry has many of the same desirable characteristics as the Toyota Corolla. It's reliable and comes standard with a long list of safety features. It's spacious, comfortable, and easy to drive.

No. 1 - Ford F-150

2015 Ford F-150 These five used cars have the highest demand in Dallas and Fort Worth according to Carvana Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Whether you're buying a new Ford F-150 or one that's a few years old, you're getting a strong and capable truck that is equally as comfortable on-road as it is off, worksite included.

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