CFM looking at shallower Leap-X fan blades

Washington DC
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CFM International is studying further weight reductions for the Leap-X engine, satisfied that the baseline design will meet certification requirements.

It is examining the feasibility of reducing the thickness of the composite blades and fan case for the engine, says Leap-X programme director Ron Klapproth.

He says internal analysis has confirmed that the current design, which is based on scaled-down technology from the widebody-class GEnx-series, is strong enough to pass birdstrike and blade-out tests required for certification.

By shifting from metal to composite, the 18-blade Leap-X fan reduces overall weight by about 76kg (168lb).

To improve the strength, CFM also needed to change the manufacturing process. GEnx blades are fashioned using a two-ply lay-up process. The Leap-X material is manufactured using a three-dimensional woven resin transfer moulding process, improving the blade's strength.

CFM is building the eCore 2 demonstrator to test Leap-X components. Compared with the eCore 1 rig tests, the new demonstrator adds a second stage to the high-pressure turbine. The first dual-spool tests of the low- and high-pressure turbine spools are set to begin later this year.

Snecma has started endurance testing of the 180cm (71in)-diameter fan derived from a programme dubbed Mascot.