3D printing aviation engines

doug-vining

3D printing aviation engines
Doug Vining
Posted: 6 October 2016

3D printing has come a long way since the certification of a single printed part for aircraft was big news. General Electric Aviation has gone considerably further in the development of its Advanced Turboprop (ATP) for the Cessna Denali single-engine aircraft. When completed, the 1,240 bhp ATP itself will have 855 conventional components reduced to just 12 printed parts, which include the sumps, bearing housings, frames, exhaust case, combustor liner, heat exchangers and stationary flowpath component. GE Aviation claims the ATP will use 20 percent less fuel for 10 percent more cruise power compared to similar engines. The advantage of 3D printing is that engine prototypes can be built much faster. GE Aviation says that the ATP combustor rig tests were completed six months early, with the combustor liners printed in two days. This means that there is less of a need to depend on computer models and allows for faster iterations of the engine to be developed and tested, so the time from initial design to final product is reduced. In addition, the parts used can be of a single, simpler design.

via New Atlas: http://newatlas.com/ge-aviation-turboprop-35-percent-printed/46279/

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