GE Aviation recently announced that testing is underway on the first demonstration core for the GE9X engine that will power the Boeing 777X aircraft. The GE9X engine contains several unique technologies and advanced material in the core: including a combustor with 3-D printed fuel nozzle tips, a new combustor dome design as well as an ultra-lightweight, heat-resistant ceramic matrix composite (CMC) inner and outer liners.
During initial testing, the demonstration core successfully operated at maximum speeds over the entire GE9X flight envelope and exceeded the engine’s compressor pressure ratio of 27:1, which is the highest pressure ratio of any commercial engine in aviation service.
“The core test allows us to see all the key hot section modules—the HPC [high pressure compressor], combustor and HPT [high pressure turbine]—working together as a complete system at least four years before the engine enters service,” said Bill Millhaem, general manager of the GE90/GE9X engine programs at GE Aviation. “This test is a key step in the GE9X technology maturation program, which has yielded extremely positive results and sets us on the right path for engine certification testing.”
According to a December 3 press release, GE says that during the next phase of testing, the demonstrator core will undergo trials on aero optimization and combustor operability. GE and its partners will spend more than $1 billion on technology maturation and product development for the 100,000-lb. thrust class GE9X engine this year. The culmination of the technology maturation program will be the first engine to test in the first half of 2016.
After the first GE9X engine test next year, the engine is set for flight-testing on GE’s flying testbed in 2017. Engine certification is scheduled for 2018. Almost 700 GE9X engines have been ordered by customers since it was launched on the Boeing 777X aircraft. Back in August, Boeing announced it has determined the basic design of its 777-9 jetliner, the first member of the 777X program to be developed, which will have CFRP wings and is on pace to be delivered by 2020.