EBACE: General Electric shows punny side of Passport 20 ‘super finish’

Geneva
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General Electric is inducing groans as it introduces a fuel-saving "super finish" on turbine blades for the Passport 20 turbofan.

The "super finish" technology allows the Passport to "outshine" the competition", dead-punned Brad Mottier, GE vice-president and general manager for business and general aviation engines, to a chorus of groans from a roomful of reporters.

"The marketing guys want me to say it," Mottier adds. "I had to say it."

Mottier displayed a Stage 3 compressor blade, agleam with the lustrous new coating.

The glossy surface of the blade is actually four times more reflective than GE's normal compressor blades, he says. The improvement means air passes more smoothly through the compressor, yielding an incremental increase in fuel efficiency.

It is one of several new technologies GE has inserted on the engines that will power the Bombardier Global 7000/8000. The first such Passport 20 engine is scheduled to enter ground testing in Peebles, Ohio, in June.

The high-pressure turbine was mated with the high-pressure compressor last week. The last step is to install the 132cm-diameter (52in) fan blisk to the core of the engine, Mottier says.

GE plans to start flight tests on the Passport 20 in 2014, followed by engine certification in 2015 and entry into service on the Global 7000 in 2016.

The Passport 20 is loaded with new technologies. Mottier also showed off a conformal heat exchanger called a "surface cooler". As installed in the aft fan case, the contoured device helps manage the thermal load without causing the drag and complexity of welded and assembled cooling systems.

There is no word on whether that technology means the Passport 20 is "cooler" than the competition.