April 10, 2013EVENDALE, OH - GE Aviation is assembling the high pressure compressor (HPC) rig that will be tested this summer as part of the GE9X engine study for Boeing's 777X aircraft. The high pressure compressor rig will be a 90 percent scale of the full size HPC on the next-generation GE90 engine and is part of the $200 million GE will spend in 2013 on technology maturation programs for the engine.
"In 2013, GE is focused on maturing advanced technologies for the fan, combustor, high pressure turbine and HPC as well continuing development on new material, such as ceramic matrix composites (CMCs), for the GE9X engine," said Bill Millhaem, general manager of the GE90 Program at GE Aviation. "The test will demonstrate the operability and efficiency of the compressor and refine clearance and bleed models. Test results will be used to make further enhancements to the HPC design."
The HPC rig test will occur at a GE Oil & Gas facility in Massa, Italy in July. The HPC rig will include more than 1,000 pieces of instrumentation.
The next-generation GE90 engine incorporates an 11-stage HPC with new aerodynamic technology and a 4th generation powdered alloy material that will produce a 27-to-1 pressure ratio, which will be the highest pressure ratio of any commercial engine in service. The new HPC design will significantly increase thermal efficiency and contribute a 2 percent improvement in the engine's fuel burn.
GE Aviation's engine study, called the GE9X, for the 777X aircraft has been underway for several years. The engine will be in the 100,000 lbs. thrust class with a 10 percent improvement in fuel burn over today's GE90-115B. Key features include a 132" diameter composite fan case and 4th generation composite fan blades; next-generation 27:1 pressure ratio high pressure compressor; a 3rd-generation TAPS (twin annular pre-swirl) combustor for greater efficiency and low emissions; and ceramic matrix composite (CMC) material in the combustor and turbine.
GE Aviation has been conducting tests on new materials for the engine during the last few years. The first full core test is scheduled for 2015.
The GE9X will follow the highly successful GE90-115B engine that entered service in 2004. At 115,000 pounds of thrust, the GE90-115B engine includes such performance-enhancing features as three-dimensional aerodynamic (3-D aero) compressor and wide-chord, swept composite fan blades for greater efficiency. The dual annular combustor emits no more than 40 percent of the hydrocarbons allowed by today's international standards. In addition, today's GE90-115B engines have been enhanced to reduce fuel burn by 3.6% from the 2000 launch specification.
More than 1,500 GE90-115B engines have been ordered by customers for their Boeing 777-300ERs, 777-200LRs and 777 Freighters. In 2011, the GE90 engine experienced its most successful year and accumulated airline and freighter operator commitments for 400 engines, surpassing the 250 engine commitments record from 2007.
Snecma of France, Avio SpA of Italy and IHI Corporation of Japan are revenue-sharing participants in the GE90 program.
The GE90-115B engine is part of GE's "ecomagination" product portfolio -- GE's commitment to implementing innovative, cost-effective technologies that enhance the customers' environmental and operating performance.
GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, components and integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings.