Testing of CFM International's advanced 3-D Woven Resin Transfer Molding (3-DW RTM) fan is proceeding on schedule and the company is achieving outstanding results.
In May, CFM completed a full-scale fan blade out rig test, simulating certification requirements for the proprietary 3-DW RTM technology. The company has also completed extensive full-scale component tests, including bird ingestion testing with the same very positive results.
"The fan blade-out test went beautifully," said Francois Bastin, director of the LEAP Program for CFM. "The fan experienced very low overall unbalance and behaved as we had predicted in pre-test simulations. We also included the composite fan case, which showed no cracks or stress defects and all parts were contained. This test was a total success and confirmed that the LEAP fan will meet all certification requirements."
In August, CFM completed endurance testing of the fan, with the hardware logging more than 5,000 cycles. The demanding test was designed to evaluate fan behavior within a real thermal and vibratory environment. The preliminary results have been outstanding, meeting or exceeding all pre-test predictions.
"The endurance test is an important one for us because it addresses the conditions that our customers will eventually see in operation," said Bastin. "We saw absolutely no change whatsoever on the fan blades and we couldn't be happier with the results."
In addition to fan tests, CFM has conducted extensive rig testing of its ultra-high-efficiency LEAP low-pressure turbine with outstanding results. The rig, which included the full low-pressure turbine (LPT) and turbine rear frame, validated the technical innovations in the design, including the advanced three-dimensional designed airfoils and blade and vane alignment. Initial results confirmed very high efficiency levels and matched results achieved in pre-test simulations. Testing has enabled CFM to assess acoustics and to validate corresponding LPT performance and airfoil mechanical behavior in a real operating environment.
The LEAP engine is on track for certification in 2014 and entry into service in 2016 on the Airbus A320neo and COMAC C919 in 2016, following by the Boeing 737 MAX in 2017. To date, CFM has received orders and commitments for more than 2,450 LEAP engines to power these three aircraft types.
CFM International is a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran group) and GE. It is the world's leading producer of commercial aircraft engines, with nearly 23,200 delivered since the company's formation in 1974.