MASSA, ITALY –- February 10, 2014— Testing continues on the high pressure compressor (HPC) module for the GE9X engine that will power Boeing’s 777X aircraft. The tests began in September at a GE Oil & Gas testing facility in Massa, Italy, and the module has accumulated close to 300 hours of testing today.
“The test results for the GE9X HPC rig are very promising as the module achieved the 27:1 pressure ratio—the highest pressure ratio for any commercial aircraft engine,” said Bill Millhaem, general manager of the GE90/GE9X Program at GE Aviation. “The testing has validated the efficiency and operability of the HPC module design well ahead of the entry into service and supports our plan to deliver a 10 percent fuel burn improvement over today’s GE90 engines.”
The HPC module is a 90 percent scale of the full-size HPC with more than 1,000 pieces of instrumentation that enable GE’s engineer to collect the necessary data to optimize the HPC module design. A GE LM2500 engine generates more than 29,000 horsepower to drive the HPC module during the test. When the rig test is completed in March, the module will have accumulated 450 run hours. GE plans to begin testing a second HPC module at the Massa, Italy test facility later this year and a third HPC module prior to first engine to test in 2016.
GE will spend a total of $300 million in 2014 on maturation testing of technologies for the new GE9X engine. Testing will include the Universal Propulsion Simulator (UPS) fan performance tests that is underway at Boeing’s Seattle, Washington facility. This test will provide key data on the GE9X fan design, which will be the largest fan diameter of any commercial aircraft engine to date.
The GE9X engine will be in the 100,000 lbs. thrust class. Key features include a 133” diameter composite fan case and 16 composite fan blades; next-generation 27:1 pressure ratio 11-stage 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. 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.
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