GE Tests New Composites For GE9X

New, tougher composite materials will enable the fan blades on the forthcoming GE9X engine to be thinner, lighter and more efficient, says Bill Millhaem, general manager of the GE90/GE9X programme. Millhaem has confirmed that GE Aviation’s engineers have successfully tested the new stiffer carbon fibre and epoxy resin material on GEnx blades, and are about to begin testing the composite using the GE9X fan blade design, which will also incorporate a steel alloy leading edge. GE is spending $300m this year on testing new technologies for the GE9X which will power the 777X when it enters into service in 2020. “Advancements [in carbon fibre composite material] enable GE engineers to design a thinner GE9X blade, which is just as strong as our current composite fan blades,” said Millhaem. “Fewer, thinner blades will enhance the airflow and make for a lighter, more efficient fan that will help with the GE9X engine’s overall performance and fuel burn.”

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