October 12, 2005
COLUMBUS, OH - The GE90-115B composite fan blade was honored as Best of Show at the American Composites Manufacturers Association's Awards for Composites Excellence. The Best of Show award is given to the entry that exhibits excellence in design, engineering, manufacturing, market significance, creativity, process innovation and use of composite materials.
Last year, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City acquired one of our GE90 jet engine fan blades. It was placed on view in the new Architecture and Design galleries.
The only composite fan blade in commercial aviation, the GE90 blade was developed at GE's Evendale, Ohio, facility. There are 22 fan blades on the GE90-115B engine, the world's largest and most powerful jet engine, for the longer-range Boeing 777 aircraft that entered airline service in 2004.
Measuring more than four feet long and weighing less than 50 pounds, the blade is made from carbon fiber and a toughened epoxy matrix. The strength and flexibility of this composite structure enables the blades to be extremely flexible, yet impact-resistant.
Composite technology has allowed GE to create a uniquely curved blade design that is lighter, more aerodynamic and larger than traditional titanium blades. The lighter blades cause less stress on the system and enable other engine components to be lighter and smaller, reducing the weight of the engine and lowering fuel burn. The aerodynamic design allows the blade to pull a massive amount of air into the engine while operating at a low noise level.
GE introduced the composite fan blade to commercial aviation on its first GE90 models during the 1990s. Those blades have performed remarkably well powering Boeing 777s, with no routine on-wing maintenance required and no in-service issues for almost a decade.
GE is extending the use of composite material in its newest engine under development, the GEnx. The GEnx engine will be the world's only jet engine with a front fan case and fan blades made of composites, which provide greater engine durability, weight reduction and lower operating costs.
GE-Aviation, a division of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), is one of the world's leading manufacturers of jet engines for civil and military aircraft. GE also is a global provider of maintenance and support services for operators of GE jet engines.