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Composite Fan Blades: GE Aviation Is The Only One That Utilizes Them...But Why?

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With the development of the new GE9X high bypass turbofan engine that will power the next generation widebody Boeing 777X aircraft, GE is now in the process of implementing a fourth generation of carbon fiber composite fan blades.

Along with these composite advancements (even thinner and more durable than previous generations), the number of fan blades is once again being reduced. It began with 22 blades on the GE90 engine and then 18 on the GEnx engine. And though the GE9X will have the largest front fan case ever produced (134-inch diameter, or 11 feet), there will only be 16 front fan blades. This is enabled by a larger fan sweep on the blades which helps to more efficiently bring additional air into the engine. 

View video to experience a time lapse of how CFAN in Texas manufactures these amazing lightweight yet highly durable blades that weigh hundreds of pounds less than metal along with its supporting material, which ultimately helps reduce fuel consumption while improving overall aerodynamics. 

Learn more about GE Aviation's industry-changing turbofan engine technologies here

Fourth-generation composite fan blades will have accumulated more than 100 million flight hours by the time the GE9X engine enters service. GE9X will have the fewest fan blades with 16.

 

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