GE Aviation delivers 25,000th CMC component
GE Aviation (Evendale, OH, US) announced on Aug. 8 the delivery of its 25,000th CFM International (Cincinnati, OH, US) LEAP engine turbine shroud by its Asheville, NC, US facility. This ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) production milestone for the company arrives just five years after the opening of its Asheville site. Shroud production rates for the LEAP program have more than tripled each year since the site opened. Today, these Asheville-produced shrouds have surpassed more than 1.5 million flight hours on the 800+ LEAP engines in commercial airline service.
CMCs are around one-third as heavy as metals and can operate at 2,400°F — 500° higher than the most advanced alloys. According to GE Aviation, the next generation CMC material technology being will improve fuel efficiency at 1 to 2 percent.
In May, GE Aviation Asheville began delivering CMC components for the GE9X, the world’s largest commercial jet engine. With an 11-foot diameter, the GE9X can generate more than 100,000 pounds of thrust. By the end of 2018, GE Aviation Asheville will deliver five separate CMC parts for the engine, which is scheduled to enter service by the end of the decade on the Boeing 777X.
The structural properties of composite materials are derived primarily from the fiber reinforcement. Fiber types, their manufacture, their uses and the end-market applications in which they find most use are described.
Lightweight, hard and stable at high temperatures, CMCs are emerging from two decades of study and development into commercial applications.
The matrix binds the fiber reinforcement, gives the composite component its shape and determines its surface quality. A composite matrix may be a polymer, ceramic, metal or carbon. Here’s a guide to selection.