Customer: Snecma (Safran Group)
AEC is currently working with Snecma (Safran group) to develop fan module components for the next-generation LEAP aircraft engine. The LEAP engine is a product of CFM International (CFM), which is the world’s leading supplier of commercial aircraft engines and a 50/50 joint venture between Snecma and GE. Composite fan blades are a key feature of this engine and an enabling technology with respect to fuel efficiency, cost efficiency, and innovation.
Snecma is responsible for the development of the overall fan blade design, as well as finishing, final control, and ultimate integration into the fan module. As part of this effort, AEC has been instrumental in designing the fiber architecture for these lightweight blades and is responsible for their manufacture, which includes weaving the fiber preforms and molding the composite parts. The preforms in these blades are fabricated using automated 3D weaving processes. The 3D woven architecture provides a structure that is highly damage tolerant and able to withstand significant in-plane and through thickness loads. Additionally the automated process is more reliable and cost effective than a comparable laminated composite blade, as less manual labor is required to fabricate the blade.
In addition to the fan blades, AEC is also responsible for developing and manufacturing the spacers and platforms, which are adjacent to the blades, and the surrounding fan case.