Discover the ideals that have made CFM the most successful joint venture in aviation history.
Throughout its history, CFM has had a policy of continuous investment in the CFM56 product line, introducing new technology into the mature fleet to help customers improve fuel efficiency, reduce its impact on the environment, and reduce overall lifecycle costs. As recently as 2011, CFM introduced the CFM56-5B PIP for the Airbus A320 family and the CFM56-7BE for the Boeing Next-Generation 737.
For the future, CFM is bringing all of this experience to the advanced new LEAP engine family, incorporating revolutionary technologies never before seen in the single-aisle aircraft segment. These engines will provide up to 15 percent better engine fuel efficiency which, at current fuel prices, translates to as much as $1.6 million in fuel cost savings alone for customers per airplane, per year. LEAP technology will also achieve double-digit improvements in CO2 emissions and noise levels, all while providing the industry’s best reliability and lowest maintenance costs.
Learn about the revolutionary technologies that will change the face of commercial aviation for the next 30 years and beyond.
The foundation of the LEAP engine is heavily rooted in the industry’s most advanced aerodynamics, environmental, lighter, more durable materials, and leading-edge environmental technologies, making it a major breakthrough in engine technology. For more than 20 years, Snecma has been developing composite fan blade technology. More recently, the company has focused on the revolutionary three-dimensional, woven resin transfer molding (3-DW RTM) technology that dramatically reduces engine weight while providing a more durable blade. Development of Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC) technology has been underway at GE for more than 30 years. This ultra-light-weight material can support the higher temperatures found in the high-pressure turbine that provide thermal efficiency. This higher temperature capability is paired with state-of-the-art cooling and coating technology to keeps the temperature profile of the metal the same as the current CFM56 engines to keep maintenance cost comparable to today’s product line. Titanium-Aluminide (Ti-Aluminide), a lightweight alloy that has been under development for the past 25 years, will also be incorporated into the engine.
With fuel costs accounting for a larger part of single aisle aircraft operating costs, it is no surprise airlines are adding more fuel-efficient aircraft to their fleets. CFM's all-new LEAP engine will improve fuel efficiency 15% over current engines. LEAP's high bypass ratio architecture, lightweight composite fan blades & case, advanced 3D aerodynamic airfoils, debris rejection system, compressor efficiency and high thermal efficiency turbine materials are products of CFM's proven technology experience and new technology development.
Airlines operating single aisle aircraft often fly 7 to 10 flights per day. Small delays create large disruptions in service and increased cost to airlines. This creates a unique demand for engines powering these aircraft to be highly reliable and durable. CFM has over ½ billion engine flight hours of experience and has become the most reliable engine in this segment. Again, LEAP will continue this level of reliability by incorporating in-service experience in the design with new technologies that support reliability, durability and maintainability.
Engine maintenance is a large contributor to aircraft operating costs. CFM56 engines have the longest time on wing and lowest maintenance costs in today’s market. Technologies such as composite fan blades, debris rejection, low temperature combustor, active turbine clearance control and more durable materials will allow LEAP to repeat as the lowest maintenance cost engine.
Although air travel remains one of the most environmentally efficient modes of travel as measured by passenger miles per gallon of fuel, there are many environmental challenges in developing new engines. Emissions of CO2 and NOx, and aircraft noise must be reduced to meet the world's expectation for constant improvement in these areas. LEAP will meet those expectations by delivering 15% lower CO2 emissions, 50% lower NOx emissions and a 75% reduction in the noise footprint vs. today's aircraft.
Carbon Fiber Composites: CFM and its parent companies have been leaders in high temperature and composite materials technology development for decades. The next generation of composite fan blade has been developed for the LEAP engine using a Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) process that makes the blades stronger and more durable. LEAP is an example of the new, highly efficient jet engines being designed with larger fan diameters that require the use of composite technology to provide strength, durability and aero efficiency without the burden of higher weight and lower durability of conventional metal fan blades and cases.
Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMC): CFM is also the leader in development and incorporation of Ceramic Matrix Composites, which are capable of withstanding temperatures several hundred degrees higher than that of current Ni-base alloys. These materials have been proven in military and land based turbine applications and offer the promise of significant efficiency gains in aviation engine application. The LEAP engine will be the first commercial engine with CMC turbine components, with future plans to extend CMC use throughout the engine hot section.
Titanium Aluminide (TiAl): The Low Pressure Turbine (LPT) durable, lightweight materials with temperature TiAl offers half the weight of conventional metals with all the durability required in the LPT. Only CFM has this material ready for use in LEAP because a 30 year development program concluded with the successful introduction of the material into the GEnx in 2012.
CFM's commitment to advancing engine technology extends to aerodynamics. CFM has been a leading developer of advanced 3D aerodynamic blade design and was the first to introduce 3D aero compressors to single aisle aircraft engines. The LEAP engine will benefit from a state-of-the-art compressor design with the highest overall pressure ratio in its class and the weight reduction, simplicity and durability advantages of blisks (bladed disks).
LEAP will feature a breakthrough combustion technology, the Twin Annular Premixing Swirler (TAPS) combustor. CFM has been developing the TAPS technology for nearly a decade and when compared to the current CFM56-7B engine, LEAP will deliver more than 60% lower NOx, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Although the LEAP architecture is the most suited to the re-engine applications of the 737 MAX A320neo and the C919, CFM continues to invest and develop alternate engine architectures. CFM will investigate innovative architectures building a robust portfolio that will support a variety of new aircraft designs.
CFM International's advanced new LEAP engine includes technological innovations that combine the reliability and durability that are a CFM hallmark with low operating costs, greater fuel efficiency, and lower CO2 and NOx emissions.
CFM is celebrating its 1,001st innovation, demonstrating these benefits for its airline customers and to salute the work that thousands of people have done to develop the most advanced propulsion system in the industry today.
Here are just a few of the 1,001 innovations and how they benefit customers:
LEAP Innovation #265:
Convex compressor casing design
Customer benefit: Reduces blade tip losses, improves compressor efficiency to reduce fuel burn.
LEAP Innovation #342:
Compressor inlet guide vane leading edge design
Customer benefit: Improves operability range.
LEAP Innovation #625:
High-pressure compressor airfoil design with rotor sweep
Customer benefit: Improves compressor stall margin.
High-pressure compressor airfoil design with metal crystalline shape
Customer benefit: Improves compressor stall margin.
High-pressure compressor airfoil design with rotor radial camber distribution
Customer benefit: Improves compressor stage throttle margin
New 3-D aerodynamic design for low-pressure turbine blades
Customer benefit: Better fuel consumption, acoustic performance
Easy access to the equipments & accessories
Customer benefit: Reduced Turn Around Time
Integrated engineering analysis with solution feedback
Customer benefit: Solves for temperatures, flows and clearances simultaneously, which ultimately results in a more fuel efficient engine
Temperature modulated cooling flow
Customer benefit: Improves cruise fuel consumption
Double wall airflow
Customer benefit: More efficient high-pressure turbine blade cooling, improving blade life and reducing fuel consumption
High-pressure turbine blade platform contouring between airfoils
Customer benefit: Improves aerodynamic performance
Turbine Airfoil with pressure side tip shelf & convex tip baffle
Customer benefit: Improves blade durability & aerodynamic performance
Composite fan case
Customer benefit: Reduces weight and improves engine fuel efficiency
High-pressure turbine blade platform contouring
Customer benefit: Improves aerodynamic efficiency to reduce fuel consumption
High-pressure turbine blade counter tip baffle airfoil
Customer benefit: Reduces aerodynamic loss in the turbine and improves engine fuel burn
Angled high-pressure turbine blade tip squealer
Customer benefit: Generates an aerodynamic vena contracta to reduce leakage and improve turbine efficiency
Forward tilting high-pressure turbine nozzle
Customer benefit: Reduces secondary flows to increase turbine aerodynamic efficiency and reduce fuel burn
Non axi-symmetric airfoil bands and platforms
Customer benefit: Limit secondary flow to reduce pressure loss and improve engine fuel burn
Modulation of the high-pressure turbine nozzle cooling flow at various stages of flight
Customer benefit: Enables higher core flow and increases thermodynamic efficiency
High-pressure turbine shroud surface patterns
Customer benefit: Reduced tip leakage flow and increased thermodynamic efficiency
A high-pressure turbine blade mid tip baffle
Customer benefit: Reduces tip clearance leakage and increases aerodynamic efficiency
The low emissions TAPS II combustor with the next evolution of nested flame technology
Customer benefit: Significantly reduces NOx emissions
Multi-hole combustor liner technology
Customer benefit: Increases cooling air efficiency to boost durability to reduce cost of ownership
Combustor mount frame
Customer benefit: Reduces system deflections for reliable engine operation
Pre-Filming air-blast pilot injector
Customer benefit: Simplifies combustor design to improve emissions, performance, and operability
Customer benefit: Improves engine reliability
R65 material alloy
Customer benefit: Improves the durability of high-temperature, life limited rotating parts to reduce cost of ownership
Integrated thrust reverser and aircraft pylon assembly
Customer benefit: Reduces propulsion system weight and drag to improve fuel efficiency
Sensors designed to prevent ice buildup during severe operations
Customer benefit: Improves reliability
Model-based engine health diagnostics
Customer benefit: Improves component efficiency and reduce cost of ownership
Nested ball/roller for core bearing spring finger
Customer benefit: Reduces sump volume and increases engine by-pass ratio
Customer benefit: Allows for P25 air to be used for sump pressurization and improves specific fuel consumption