Testing To Begin Soon on GE9X High Pressure Compressor

GE Aviation will start testing this summer on a high pressure compressor (HPC) rig for the GE9X engine that will power Boeing’s 777X aircraft. GE plans on spending $200 million in 2013 on maturation testing of technologies for the new GE9X engine.

“During the last year, GE Aviation has invested about $4 million in new equipment at the GE Oil & Gas testing facility in Massa, Italy, where the HPC rig test will occur,” said Bill Millhaem, general manager of the GE90 Program at GE Aviation. “This new equipment will enable the test cell to accommodate the 27-to-1 pressure ratio of the HPC, which will be the highest pressure ratio of any commercial engine in aviation service.”

The high pressure compressor rig will be a 90 percent scale of the full-size HPC with more than 1,000 pieces of instrumentation. A GE LM2500 engine will generate more than 29,000 horsepower to drive the HPC rig during the test. The test will be completed by year end and will demonstrate the compressor’s performance and operability. An additional HPC rig test is scheduled for 2014 to test further enhancements to the HPC design based on this year’s test results.

Among the test cell upgrades are: an enhanced ventilation system capable of the cooling and heating required by the HPC rig, a unique exhaust frame and water quenching system and new instrumentation and data acquisition systems. A new inlet system was also installed and will be tested this month.

The next-generation GE90 engine incorporates an 11-stage HPC with new aerodynamic technology and a 4th generation powered alloy material. The new HPC design will significantly increase thermal efficiency and contribute a 2 percent improvement in the engine’s fuel burn.

Testing on the new fan module, which includes 4th generation composite fan blades and a composite fan case, is set for later this year. In 2014, GE Aviation will conduct tests on GE9X hot section components made from ceramic matrix composites (CMCs). The components will be tested on a GEnx demonstrator engine to gather information on functionality and durability.

GE Aviation has worked with Boeing for several years on the design of the new GE9X engine for the 777X aircraft. The engine will be in the 100,000 lbs. thrust class with a 10 percent improvement in fuel burn over today’s GE90-115B. Key features include a 132” diameter composite fan case and 16 composite fan blades; next-generation 27:1 pressure ratio high pressure compressor; a 3rd-generation TAPS (twin annular pre-swirl) combustor for greater efficiency and low emissions; and ceramic matrix composite (CMC) material in the combustor and turbine.

The first full core test is scheduled for 2015. The first engine will test in 2016 with flight testing on GE’s flying testbed anticipated in 2017. Engine certification is scheduled for 2018.

The GE9X will follow the highly successful GE90-115B engine that entered service in 2004. At 115,000 pounds of thrust, the GE90-115B engine includes such performance-enhancing features as three-dimensional aerodynamic (3-D aero) compressor and wide-chord, swept composite fan blades for greater efficiency. The dual annular combustor emits no more than 40 percent of the hydrocarbons allowed by today’s international standards. In addition, today’s GE90-115B engines have been enhanced to reduce fuel burn by 3.6% from the 2000 launch specification.

Source / Author: GE Aviation