It's Great Design Too: World's Biggest Jet Engine Fan Blade at The Museum of Modern Art

November 16, 2004

EVENDALE, Ohio - Today's three-dimensional aerodynamic designs create not only extremely efficient jet engines--but also, beautiful works of design.

The Museum of Modern Art in New York City has acquired the world's largest jet engine fan blade, produced by General Electric Company (GE), into its Architecture and Design collection. The GE fan blade will be on view when the museum reopens on November 20.

Nearly four feet long and with a unique curved design, this fan blade is on the GE90-115B, the world's largest and most powerful jet engine. Unprecedented in size, the GE90 front fan blade is also the only composite fan blade in commercial aviation. The composite material results in the blade's distinctive black color.

The GE90 engine powers Boeing 777 aircraft around the globe.

The GE90 blade blends form and function. Using three-dimensional aerodynamic computer design tools, GE engineers modeled these huge blades to pull massive amounts of air into the engine while operating at low noise levels. The artistic, curved design serves a key function--to enable the fan blades to withstand supersonic airwaves generated during flight.

The blades' composite material gives the GE90 engine a rare combination of unprecedented power and low noise. Here's how: The front fan turns more slowly than the front fan of jet engines of similar thrust, and thus it is quieter. But the blades have to be huge to pull enough air into the engine to produce the super-high thrust. Traditional titanium blades would have resulted in far too much engine weight.

The GE90 blade's carbon fiber polymeric material and a titanium leading edge for extra protection were a lightweight and durable solution.

Each fan blade weighs between 30 and 50 pounds. Every GE90-115B engine contains 22 of these fan blades, which add approximately 2,000 pounds to the engine's thrust capability, while providing better fuel burn.

GE Transportation - Aircraft Engines, a part of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), is one of the world's leading manufacturers of jet engines for civil and military aircraft. GE Transportation is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Click here for a photo of the GE90 fan blade.