EVENDALE, OHIO (April 5, 2000) The swept wide chord fan blade being developed as part of CFM Project TECH56 has successfully completed a full-scale blade-out rig test with outstanding results.
CFM Project TECH56 is a three-year technology acquisition program undertaken by CFM International (CFM) to serve as the basis for potential new and derivative engines, as well as to provide technology upgrades to the existing CFM56 product line. All of the testing that has been completed to date has yielded promising results for the future application of this technology. CFM is a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran Group) of France and General Electric of the United States.
CFM ran the rig, which was mounted with a full set of swept fan blades, at speeds above the current CFM56-7 redline speed. A blade-out test is conducted by setting a charge on a single blade and detonating it to determine how the engine, fan containment, and other blades will react as a result of losing a blade. During this test, there was only limited damage to the surrounding blades and no material loss other than the released blade. All parts were contained.
Earlier this year, the fan completed full-scale performance, cross wind, and acoustics testing on a modified CFM56-7 engine. The 61-inch solid blade configuration tested at Snecma facilities in Villaroche and GE's outdoor test facility near Peebles, Ohio, demonstrated more than two percent higher flow at speed compared to the industry-leading CFM56-7 while offering the same peak efficiency as the CFM56-7. In the same size fan, the swept blade could provide five to six percent more thrust and as much as a one percent fuel burn improvement compared to the current CFM56-7 wide chord fan.
In the next several months, CFM will perform comparable performance, cross wind, and ingestion tests on a 68-inch hollow swept fan blade. Studies on the potential application of this technology will continue over the next 18 to 24 months.