As well as collaborating with Snecma on CFM International’s new LEAP engine, American manufacturer, GE Aviation, has also been hard at work developing the next generation of widebody aircraft engine, the GE9X.
GE Aviation’s GE9X builds on the advanced technologies developed for GE engines, like the GEnx, Passport and CFM International’s LEAP. Built specifically for the new Boeing 777X aircraft, the GE9X offers a 10% improvement in fuel burn compared to the GE90-115B engine, and features several key technologies and material that make it unique.
GE continues its use of composite material in the fan blades and fan case of the GE9X, which at 340 centimeters will be the largest fan of any GE engine. Advances in design tools allow the reduction of the fan blade count to 16, which reduces weight and CO2 emissions.
The use of ceramic matrix composites (CMC) in the combustor and turbine in the GE9X engine brings further fuel burn improvements and emissions reductions. The CMC material is not only lighter than the metallic alloys it replaces, saving CO2 through weight reductions, but it can also withstand higher temperatures. This allows more air to stay in the flow path where it will improve fuel burn and cut CO2 emissions.
The GE9X engine will also make use of the additive manufacturing process known as 3D printing for its fuel nozzles. This new manufacturing process is less energy intensive and cuts down on the additional materials previously needed when utilising forging manufacturing processes.
Alongside a record-setting highly efficient 27:1 pressure ratio compressor, these new technologies and materials ensure the GE9X will be one of the most fuel efficient engines in the world when it enters service in 2020.