GE Aviation has completed a series of dust-ingestion tests of the 110,000-pound thrust GE9X, which the company developed specifically for the Boeing 777X. During the tests, the engine was mounted on a test stand and run through a number of typical flight cycles, from takeoff through cruise to landing. Engineers injected a stream of dust debris into the engine to represent typical real-world conditions, including those in harsh dust and sand conditions.
After 1,600 cycles and post-test borescope inspections, the engine continued to function as expected. The engine will now be torn down and inspected in detail, a process due for completion by the end of the year.
“We’ve learned a great deal over the years from our widebody engine programs about ways to prevent hot- and cold-section engine degradation caused by sand and dust ingestion,” said GE9X program manager Karl Sheldon. “The GE9X engine includes new, patented technology from these learnings specifically designed to keep dust and sand out of the engine.”
GE has incorporated numerous advanced technologies in the GE9X to create a fuel-efficient engine that is the world's quietest in terms of thrust-decibel ratio. Emissions rank best-in-class, having achieved a NOx level 55 percent below regulatory requirements. The engine includes more than 300 3D-printed parts, including a dust particle separator.
The GE9X is the most rigorously tested of GE’s engines. It won FAR Part 33 approval from the FAA in September 2020, the certification testing involving 5,000 hours of running in 8,000 cycles. As part of the process, the GE9X flew more than 400 hours in 72 test flights installed on the company’s Boeing 747-400 testbed. The next major step involves extended-range, twin-engine operations testing, which GE plans to conduct in the first half of next year.