The CFM Project TECH56 validation phase continues its highly successful progress, with component tests yielding results that are meeting or exceeding program goals. With Project TECH56, CFM International is developing and maturing the technology that will help to define state-of-the-art propulsion technology for decades.
CFM International (CFM), the world's leading supplier of commercial aircraft engines, is a 50/50 joint company of Snecma Moteurs (Safran Group) of France and General Electric of the United States.
During 2000 and 2001, CFM has been conducting extensive validation testing at GE and Snecma (Safran Group) facilities, testing real hardware in real CFM56 engines, simulating a real CFM operating environment. Project TECH56 looks at every major component with the objective of making the best products in the industry even better. The key drivers are simplified designs and better efficiency focused on lower overall cost of ownership and reduced environmental impact.
CFM has successfully tested a solid 61-inch swept wide chord fan blade on a modified CFM56-7 engine, including performance, acoustics, and cross-wind testing. The blades also completed bird ingestion and blade-out rig tests. In June, the company will begin testing a hollow 68-inch swept fan on a CFM56-5C engine. This fan will also complete performance and cross-wind testing and, in mid-2002, will undergo a full-scale engine blade out.
In early 2002, CFM will test a new booster design on a CFM56-5B engine. The objective is to achieve higher reliability with few parts by eliminating the VBVs (variable bleed valves).
In 2000, CFM completed highly successful rig tests of a new six-stage high-pressure design. These tests demonstrated that the compressor could achieve very high-pressure ratios without any sacrifices in operability. Build II of the compressor, which just began testing, features newly contoured airfoils. This phase of testing will run through July and is geared toward improving compressor efficiency.
After completing extensive full-scale rig tests of the Twin Annular, Pre-Swirl (TAPS) combustor in 2000, CFM launched full-scale engine tests late last year. Installed in a modified CFM56-7 engine, the combustor completed acoustic, performance, and operability testing, in addition to hail ingestion tests. The results continue to be outstanding. In the near-term, the engine will complete a three-week cyclic endurance test. In late 2001, the TAPS will go back on test with a new fuel nozzle design that incorporates design refinements identified during the current test program.
Brush seals installed on a modified CFM56-5B engine have completed extensive testing to date. Results indicate that this technology can reduce leakage by as much as 40 percent compared to traditional labyrinth seals. CFM is currently modifying the seals and plans to go back on test in October. This four-week program will subject the engine to highly abusive conditions, including sand, dirt and water ingestion, to further validate the durability of the seals.
CFM is the only manufacturer with more than 170 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. Testing of a third-generation low-pressure turbine design with a 35 percent reduction in parts count versus the current CFM56 configuration is under way.