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.