Boeing 777X: Powered by 3D printing and composite materials

Boeing 777X GE9X engine
Boeing 777X GE9X engine

The Boeing 777X’s first flight was powered by two GE9X engines yesterday, an engine that makes use of composite materials and 3D printed parts.

The engine has a composite fan case and 16 fourth-generation carbon fibre composite fan blades, 3D printed parts and ceramic matrix composite (CMC) material in the combustor and turbine.

“On behalf of the GE team, congratulations to Boeing on the first flight of the 777X. Today’s massive milestone is a testament to the outstanding work and dedication of both companies,” said David Joyce, president and CEO of GE Aviation and a GE corporate vice chairman. “We are proud to be the power under the wings of the 777X and provide this state-of the-art aircraft with GE’s advanced technology.”

GE Aviation has been designing and testing the GE9X since 2013. In preparation for yesterday’s flight, GE Aviation previously conducted 72 test flights of the GE9X totalling more than 400 hours on its Boeing 747 flying test bed. To date, the GE9X program has completed more than 4,100 hours of ground and air testing, as well as 6,500 cycles.

GE Aviation is wrapping up certification testing for the GE9X and expects the engine to be certified later this year. Eight GE9X engines and two spares have been produced to support the Boeing test program. Engines for the first three aircraft have been delivered and the balance will be in Seattle in the coming weeks.

“The flight test program of the Boeing 777X with the GE9X will validate the performance objectives and advantages of this airplane and engine combination,” said Ted Ingling, GE9X program manager. “The GE9X is the most fuel-efficient jet engine that GE has ever produced, operating at 10% lower fuel consumption than competing engines."

The GE9X engine is in the 100,000-pound thrust class and has the largest front fan at 134 inches in diameter.

Other key features include: a highly efficient next-generation 27:1 pressure-ratio high-pressure compressor; a third-generation low emissions TAPS III combustor.

Image: Wikimedia Commons/Dan Nevill

www.geaviation.com

Company

Boeing

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