CFM optimizing composites in LEAP-X engine fan blades

Aviation website Flightglobal says CFM International is molding LEAP-X engine blades via resin transfer molding using a 3-D carbon fiber preform.

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Aviation website Flightglobal reported on March 7 that jet engine maker CFM International, a joint venture of GE (U.S.) and Snecma (France), is working to optimize carbon fiber composites use in the forthcoming LEAP-X engine.

Accorinding to the report, CFM is examining the feasibility of reducing thickness of the composite blades and fan case for the next-generation narrowbody engine, says Ron Klapproth, LEAP-X program director.

The report says analysis has confirmed that the current design, based on scaling down technology from the widebody-class GEnx engine, is strong enough to pass bird-strike and blade-out tests required to achieve certification, Klapproth says.

Shifting from metal to composite blades, the current design of the 18-blade Leap-X fan reduces overall weight by 168 lb/76 kg. The report says the Leap-X blades are manufactured using a 3-D carbon fiber weave and resin transfer moulding (RTM), improving the blade's strength.

Flightglobal says CFM is preparing the first Leap-X engine for certification in 2014; the Leap-X1C engine has been selected by Comac (China) to power the C919, and is being considered to power the Airbus A320neo (re-engined A320).

Information: Click here for original Flightglobal report.