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LEAP56TM program progressing on schedule with highly successful component and rig tests

CFM International's advanced technology acquisition program, LEAP56, is progressing on schedule.  The company completed component and rig tests in 2007 and many more are scheduled for 2008 and 2009.

CFM International (CFM) is a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (SAFRAN Group) and General Electric Company.

"With LEAP56, we are focusing our efforts on engine architecture, advanced aerodynamics, materials, and environmental technologies to address the major challenges we see in the future," said Eric Bachelet, president and CEO of CFM.  "The goals we have set are aggressive by any measure, but we are committed to validating and maturing the technology that will continue to meet our customers expectations over the long term."

Compared to the current CFM56 Tech Insertion configuration, CFM is targeting 10 – 15 percent lower specific fuel consumption; 15 percent lower maintenance costs; 25 percent longer initial on-wing life; a 10 – 15 decibel reduction in noise; and a 60 percent reduction in NOx emissions.  CFM intends to meet all of these goals without any sacrifice in the industry-leading CFM56 reliability standards.

The test schedule for 2008 includes a composite fan case containment test, along with fan aerodynamic and bird strike tests, TAPS combustor, and high-pressure compressor rig tests, in addition to high- and low-pressure turbine component tests.  The company will also complete component tests on the resin transfer molding (RTM) fan blade and the ceramic matrix composite (CMC) high-pressure turbine nozzles. 

The current LEAP56 configuration incorporates an RTM fan and composite fan case.  The ultra-high pressure ratio core includes an eight-stage high-pressure compressor driven by a high-efficiency single-stage high-pressure turbine. 

The core will incorporate third generation three dimensional aerodynamic design airfoils; the advanced TAPS II (Twin-Annular, Pre-Swirl) combustor; and advanced aerodynamics, materials, and cooling technology in the high-pressure turbine.  The highly efficient low-pressure turbine with reduced parts count will also incorporate advanced, low-weight materials such as titanium aluminide.

For the longer-term, CFM is also studying game-changing technologies that will address the ever-increasing requirements for lower noise and emissions.  Using LEAP56 technology as the foundation, the company is actively pursing counter-rotating fan technology, as well as open rotor designs that build on the experience of the unducted fan from the late 1980s.  Two potential open rotor designs are being validated for an engine in the 25,000-pound (111 kN) thrust class that could provide a 35:1 bypass ratio.  

Press release issued by CFM International Inc. on February 19, 2008


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CFM International Inc. Turbofan Engines


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