Approximately 18 months into the three-year technology acquisition program, CFM Project TECH56 is on schedule and highly successful. CFM International is a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran Group) of France and General Electric of the United States.
TECH56 is advancing technology significantly for retrofit into existing engines, as well as serving as the basis for potential new and derivative CFM56 engines. The drivers are simplified designs, better component efficiency focused on lower overall cost of ownership, high quality, improved reliability, and reduced environmental impact.
One key technology is an improved fan with a swept wide chord fan blade for higher thrust, improved aerodynamic efficiency with less weight, and lower noise. This year, CFM will run performance and fan stability tests and a full-size blade release.
In the high pressure compressor, CFM is increasing the stage loading through a simplified design for better efficiency with fewer stages. The new six-stage compressor will have fewer airfoils and rotors, thus lowering maintenance costs. Thus far, the compressor stage loading has been validated and CFM will complete the aerodynamic and mechanical design this year.
The Twin-Annular, Pre-Swirl (TAPS) combustor is the next step forward in emissions reduction. Building on CFM's experience with the double annular combustor, the simpler, more durable TAPS combustor will maintain the NOx (oxides of nitrogen) emissions CFM has achieved with its double annular combustor, while lowering carbon monoxide and unburned hydrocarbon emissions. The preliminary design and analysis is complete; CFM is currently running single module tests and will perform full-scale component testing this year to support CFM56 operability testing in 2000.
CFM is also working with a unique dual spool turbine test rig to optimize the interaction between the high and low pressure turbines for improved efficiency. Additionally, new low pressure turbine airfoil technology is being developed for improved efficiency, and 20 percent fewer airfoils. CFM initiated baseline dual spool tests with CFM56-5B hardware last month, and is on schedule to complete the HPT rig test by year end and to complete the HPT/LPT dual spool rig test on the TECH56 configuration in 2000.
In a new engine configuration, TECH56 could provide: