ZHUHAI, CHINA November 4, 2002 Maturation of technologies being developed as part of CFM Project TECH56 continues, with CFM achieving significant advancements in engine fan, compressor, combustor, and turbine technology.
Project TECH56 is a technology acquisition and maturation program of CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma Moteurs (Safran Group) of France and General Electric of the United States.
With Project TECH56, CFM is developing and maturing technology that will define the state of the art for decades. The maturation phase has been underway since early 2001, and tests continue to yield results that meet or exceed program goals. Focusing on simpler designs, better efficiency, lower overall cost of ownership, and reduced environmental impact, CFM is looking at every major component to find ways to make the best products in the industry even better. At GE and Snecma facilities, Project TECH56 components have undergone extensive testing, putting real hardware in real CFM56 engines, simulating a real CFM operating environment.
A 68-inch, hollow swept wide chord fan is undergoing mechanical, performance, and acoustic tests on a modified CFM56-5C engine. Thus far, the fan has met or exceeded design point flow and efficiency goals. Fan tests completed to date include: verification of the mechanical integrity of a new aluminum fan frame with integrated outlet guide vanes (OGVs); validation of the aeromechanics of the hollow aft-swept fan blades; design point performance; and fan acoustic mapping, using a variable fan nozzle which allows evaluation at different pressure ratios. A full-scale engine blade-out test, as well as crosswind testing, are scheduled for late 2002.
CFM is on schedule to test a new booster design on a CFM56-5B engine this year. The objective is to achieve higher reliability with fewer parts by eliminating the variable bleed valves (VBVs).
One of the biggest leaps in technology that Project TECH56 has yielded is the highly-loaded six-stage high pressure compressor (HPC). The current CFM56 nine-stage compressor has a reputation in the industry for stall-free operation. The goal of the TECH56 compressor is to maintain this advantage while offering significant improvements. The HPC design achieves much higher stage loading with fewer airfoils and rotors, thus providing higher efficiency and lower maintenance costs. Two builds have successfully completed full-scale rig testing, and a third build is scheduled to go on test later this year. Build I achieved design intent airflow and demonstrated outstanding operability. Build II featured newly contoured airfoils to maintain operability and improve efficiency. Overall, this testing has confirmed a substantial efficiency improvement with no compromise in operability, establishing a new standard of performance for this class of compressor. The HPC has completed more than 335 hours of testing to date at GE's compressor test facility in Lynn, Massachusetts.
Installed in a modified CFM56-7 engine, the Twin-Annular, Pre-Swirl (TAPS) combustor has undergone extensive full-scale engine testing. Results continue to be outstanding, with emissions meeting all requirements with significant margin. In late 2001, the TAPS went back on test with a new fuel nozzle design that incorporates design refinements identified during former tests. Initial testing, which included emission, performance, and operability, has confirmed that the new simplified design improves reliability without compromising emissions, performance or operability. The combustor is set to begin endurance testing later this year.
CFM is the only manufacturer with 200 million hours of experience with a single-stage high-pressure turbine. Project TECH56 is taking that experience to the next level, developing simpler designs and improving efficiency. CFM has completed several successful high-pressure turbine tests, in addition to counter-rotating dual-spool rig tests. Most recently, CFM completed testing of a third-generation low-pressure turbine design that reduces parts count by 35 percent compared to the current CFM56 configuration.