GKN Aerospace is to develop the composite fan case for the General Electric GEnx engine for Boeing's 787, the first airliner designed to incorporate a powerplant with this technology. The work, to be undertaken by GKN's Aerostructures site in Tallassee, Alabama will consist of the containment case, as well as the abradable panels and trench filler material in the disc area by the blade tips. GKN will both develop and manufacture the structures, some of which could incorporate the company's pressure-based resin film infusion technology.
The radical move to develop an engine for the 787 with both composite blades and fan case was revealed by GE in December 2004. The engine maker believes the switch to composites will reduce overall weight of the aircraft by over 360kg (790lb).
GE will raise the tempo of its composite case development work soon when it begins runs of a larger-scale test rig.
Source: Flight International