Engine manufacturer CFM International (Stand G23) plans to test 15 Leap engines this year as part of a development program leading to certification of the Leap-1A for the Airbus A320neo next year. Also part of the program, the Leap 1B and -1C versions are to power the upgraded Boeing 737 Max and the new Comac C919 narrowbodies, respectively. The engine’s designers promise a 15-percent fuel burn advantage over the current CFM56.
Ceramic Matrix Composite
CFM International claims it is behind a revolution in the use of advanced materials for its Leap series of engines for single-aisle aircraft, that gives it a durability and maintainability edge over the competing Pratt & Whitney PurePower geared turbofan.
CFM International has completed the second phase of testing of the Leap-X core demonstrator known as eCore 1. This means that all three major elements of the first core–the turbine, the combustor and the compressor– have undergone evaluation. The results, according to Leap program director Ron Klapproth, have matched or exceeded all the company’s early projections, leaving the program on schedule for certification in late 2014.
CFM International continues to work “on a daily basis” with Boeing and Airbus on new engine applications for the 737 and A320 families, according to Eric Bachelet, president and CEO of the General Electric-Snecma joint venture.
GE Aviation is pushing the engine design envelope with flight testing of ceramic composite components in the hot section of a GE Rolls-Royce F136 Joint Strike Fighter development engine. The components being tested are third-stage, low-pressure turbine vanes made of ceramic matrix composites (CMC).