Davis and a team of engineers followed a process that
would recognize in whittling down the candidates for the
new carbon fiber.
“We thoroughly tested the material at various
levels from coupon testing of static, fatigue, and
fracture toughness properties to component testing of
fatigue and ultimate strength capability,” he says.
These test results have allowed them to select
the best material for the GE9X engine. he says.
More than 700 GE9X engines have been ordered so far
because of the fuel savings inherent in the composite
fan blades and other advanced materials, like the tough
ceramic matrix composite material that will withstand
extreme temperatures in the engine’s combustor and
turbine. The weight savings from all of these advances
mean the GE9X fan will be lighter than its predecessor,
the GE90, while also being the largest fan produced by
the company. The composite fan case at the front of the
engine will measure 133 inches in diameter, about the
length of a compact car.
Airlines including Emirates, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa,
Cathay Pacific, and Qatar Airways have placed orders for
the 777X with GE9X powerplants, which will deliver more
than 100,000 pounds of thrust.
Engineers are continuing to refine the machine’s
design to optimize its aerodynamics before the design is
frozen in late 2015. Flight testing is expected to begin