LE BOURGET, France — 17 June 2013 — Testing of CFM International's advanced 3-D Woven Resin Transfer Molding (3-DW RTM) fan is proceeding on schedule and the company will begin the second phase of ground testing with its MASCOT 2 fan demonstrator engine.
The carbon fiber, 3-D woven composite RTM (Resin Transfer Molding) fan is a foundational technology for CFM’s advanced LEAP engined scheduled to enter service in 2016.
The first full LEAP-1A engine is currently in assembly and is on track to begin ground testing this fall. The engine is scheduled to begin flight testing on GE’s modified 747 flying testbed in mid-2014, followed by engine certification the following year.
“The LEAP fan test program has been a total success thus far,” said Cedric Goubet, executive vice president of CFM International. “We have been developing this technology for nearly two decades and all of our testing has confirmed that the LEAP fan will deliver on the commitments we have made to our customers. This light-weight structure is proving to be incredibly durable and virtually maintenance free.”
This Snecma (Safran) proprietary technology has been under development for several years and will dramatically reduce engine weight while providing a more durable blade. The company launched the demonstrator program, dubbed MASCOT (Moteur à Aubes de Soufflante en Composite Taille) in 2009 and has since logged thousands of hours of testing. MASCOT is validating this revolutionary technology in a CFM-sized fan installed on a CFM56-5C engine
MASCOT 2 completed 50 hours of testing at Snecma facilities in Villaroche, France (near Paris) over a two-month period. Testing validated fan performance and fan stall and flutter margin, with the hardware meeting pre-test predictions. The next phase will include cross wind and acoustics testing at GE’s outdoor test facility in Peebles, Ohio (near Cincinnati).
Overall, 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. In 2011, CFM completed a grueling 5,000-cycle endurance test, which is designed to evaluate fan behavior within a real thermal and vibratory environment. The results were outstanding, meeting or exceeding all pre-test predictions. One of the interesting elements of the test was the inclusion of deliberately damaged blades. When the blades were examined at the end of the test, they showed absolutely no propagation of the damage, validating CFM goal to produce a virtually maintenance-free.
LEAP engines are a product of CFM International is a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran) and GE and the world’s largest supplier of commercial aircraft engines. To date, more than 25,000 CFM56 engines have been delivered to more than 500 operators around the globe. This fleet has achieved more than 635 million flight hours as the most reliable engines in the air.