GE Aviation Tests World’s First Rotating CMC Material for Next-Gen Combat Engines

Headquartered in Evendale, Ohio, GE Aviation is one of the leading aircraft engine suppliers for commercial aircrafts. It is a subsidiary of General Electric which is one of the world’s largest corporations.In 2011, Fortune ranked GE the 6th-largest firm in the U.S. as well as the 14th-most profitable and for 2012, GE’s brand was valued at an estimated USD$28.8 billion. Earlier today at an undisclosed location, GE Aviation successfully tested the F414 turbofan demonstrator engine’s rotating low-pressure turbine blades which were made up of lightweight, ceramic matrix components. The purpose of the test was to confirm the temperature and durabilities of the heat-resistant CMC turbine blades and it did just that. The test resulted in record-breaking temperature and fuel burn achievements. As the engine changes, the CMC components are changed from a static state to a rotating one, and this is where the challenge lies.

Though there are challenges,
"the progression of F414 CMC testing has provided key learnings in making this transition happen for our adaptive cycle engine,”
according to GE Aviation Advanced Combat Engine program general manager Dan McCormick. Using the CMC low pressure blades makes the engine more efficient aerodynamically as well as more fuel efficiency because the CMC doesn’t need to be air cooled. GE’s adaptive cycle engine will have more durability than traditional engines as CMC's material temperature capability is hundreds of degrees higher than the nickel-based alloys currently being used in commercial and military engines.


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