- Major component tests are under way as the validation phase of CFM Project TECH56 moves into high gear.
CFM Project TECH56, in its third year, is a technology acquisition program designed to develop and validate advanced technology for the CFM56 family. This technology could serve as the basis for a new or derivative CFM56 engine, as well as upgrades to the current product line. CFM56 engines are produced by CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma Moteurs (Safran Group) of France and General Electric of the United States.
CFM has already completed performance, operability, and aeromechanical testing of the first build of the new six-stage high pressure compressor design. Preliminary results look very promising, with the targeted stall margin demonstrated. A second build of this compressor design is on track to begin testing in the third quarter of this year.
The TECH56 high pressure turbine aero design completed 75 hours of testing in May. CFM will soon run the first dual spool rig test, which mates the new high pressure turbine design with a redesigned low pressure turbine, to validate the improved interaction. CFM expects the design to provide significant efficiency gains and will result in a one percent fuel burn improvement. Additional dual spool rig tests are scheduled for later this year, including a counter-rotating turbine design.
Full annular rig testing of the advanced Twin Annular, Pre-Swirl (TAPS) combustor is imminent, with a full engine demo scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year. The TAPS combustor will maintain the NOx emissions reductions CFM achieved with its double annular combustor while further reducing carbon monoxide and unburned hydrocarbon emissions.
The brush seal technology developed as part of Project TECH56 is being validated in sub-scale and full-size component tests. The brush seals, which provide higher efficiency, reduced losses, and reduced deterioration, will undergo full-engine tests in the first half of 2001.
CFM has completed testing of a 61-inch solid, swept wide chord fan blade with excellent results. Now, the company is developing a hollow 68-inch swept wide chord fan. This design will complete full-scale performance, cross wind, acoustic, and blade out testing early next year. Swept wide chord blades provide significant thrust growth from the same diameter fan coupled with fuel burn improvements.
Over the next 12-18 months, CFM will continue to optimize this new technology and evaluate the results from the test program to determine the best application. Project TECH56 was designed to provide the basis for potential new and derivative CFM56 engines, as well as upgrades for the current product line.