General Electric Affinity

Summary

Affinity
GE Affinity.png
Type Turbofan
National origin United States
Manufacturer GE Aviation
Major applications Aerion AS2
Number built Cancelled
Developed from CFM International CFM56

The General Electric Affinity was a turbofan developed by GE Aviation for supersonic transports. Launched in May 2017 to power the Aerion AS2 supersonic business jet, its initial design was completed in 2018 before its detailed design in 2020 for the first prototype production. GE Aviation discontinued development of the engine in May 2021. Its high-pressure core is derived from the CFM56, matched to a new twin fan low-pressure section for a reduced bypass ratio better suited to supersonic flight.

Development

At the May 2017 EBACE, Aerion announced its selection of GE Aviation to power the Aerion AS2 supersonic business jet.[1] GE then launched the Affinity program.[2] The final engine configuration is a core with billions of operational hours – suggesting the CFM56 – and a new low-pressure section optimised for supersonic speed.[3] The Affinity high-pressure core is adapted from the CFM56 and the GE F101/F110 military engines.[4]

In February 2018, Aerion released the GE engine configuration. Thrust will be reduced at takeoff to meet Chapter 5 noise regulations, requiring a longer balanced field takeoff as an acceptable compromise. Chapter 5 applies from 2018 to over 120,000 lb (54,400 kg) aircraft and all aircraft from 2021.[5] The initial design of its Affinity medium-bypass-ratio turbofan was completed by October 2018. Its detailed design review was to be completed by 2020 for the first prototype production.[2]

Following the collapse of Aerion on 21 May 2021, GE Aviation discontinued development of the Affinity engine, leaving Rolls-Royce as the sole supersonic powerplant provider for the Boom Overture.[6]

Design

GE Aviation needs to develop a configuration accommodating reasonably well requirements for supersonic speed, subsonic speed and noise levels.[7] Managing the high intake temperatures at high altitudes is a key challenge for the initial design.[3] An engine for supersonic flight needs a lower bypass ratio than modern turbofans, having a higher flow speed for better efficiency. This is limited by noise regulations at takeoff, and a lower compression core like the CFM56 is better suited to higher temperatures encountered supersonically.[8] The engine is a compromise between a big core for power and a small fan for wave drag, and Mach 1.4 is a compromise between higher speed and enough range.[9]

The high-pressure core is derived from the nine-stage compressor and single-stage turbine of the CFM56, matched to a new low-pressure section optimised for supersonic speed with a 133 cm (52in) diameter fan instead of the 155-173 cm (61-68.3in) fan of the 6:1 bypass ratio CFM56.[5] The twin-shaft, twin-fan engine with FADEC has a service ceiling of 18,300 m (60,000 ft). It lacks an afterburner, and has a combustor with advanced coatings and uses additive manufacturing technologies.[2]

The 18,000 lbf (80 kN) GE Affinity has a nine-stage HP compressor, a single-stage HP turbine and a two-stage low-pressure turbine. Preceded by fixed inlet guide vanes with movable flaps, the twin blisk fans have wide-chord titanium blades. The exhaust mixer is similar to the GE Passport ceramic matrix composite design.[10] The Mach 1.4-to-1.6 speed requires no variable-geometry inlet and the variable-area nozzle has a cone moving longitudinally, replacing a convergent-divergent nozzle.[11] The bypass ratio is around 3 to lower the ram drag, and it should produce 3,500 lbf (16 kN) at Mach 1.4 and FL500, with a cruise fuel consumption increased by 50% over the Mach 0.78 CFM56-5.[12]

Specifications

General characteristics

  • Type: Twin-shaft, medium bypass, non-afterburning turbofan
  • Length:
  • Diameter: 1.33m (52in) fan[5]
  • Dry weight:

Components

Performance

See also

Related development

Comparable engines

Related lists

References

  1. ^ Fred George (May 22, 2017). "Supersonic Aerion Selects GE Engine". ShowNews. Aviation Week Network.
  2. ^ a b c Mark Phelps (October 15, 2018). "Aerion Unveils Stage 5 GE Affinity Engine for Supersonic AS2". AIN online.
  3. ^ a b Stephen Trimble (15 Dec 2017). "Lockheed and Aerion to develop supersonic business jet". Flightglobal.
  4. ^ "GE Affinity Turbofans To Power AS2". Aviation Week. November 16, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Kate Sarsfield (22 Feb 2018). "Aerion releases configuration of supersonic jet engine". Flightglobal.
  6. ^ Murdo Morrison (24 May 2021). "GE stops work on Affinity supersonic engine". Flightglobal.
  7. ^ Stephen Trimble (10 Oct 2017). "GE nears milestones on $1.5B bet on business aircraft". Flightglobal.
  8. ^ Bjorn Fehrm (December 20, 2017). "The Supersonic dilemma". Leeham.
  9. ^ Guy Norris (Jul 3, 2018). "Aerion Closes In On Supersonic AS2 Program Launch". Aviation Week Network.
  10. ^ a b c Guy Norris (Oct 15, 2018). "GE Shows Affinity for Supersonics". Aviation Week Network.
  11. ^ Guy Norris (Oct 16, 2018). "Why GE's Affinity Is a Supersonic Enabler". Aviation Week Network.
  12. ^ a b c "Bjorn's Corner: Supersonic transport revival, Part 12". Leeham News. October 26, 2018.
  13. ^ https://www.geaviation.com/bga/engines/ge-affinity

External links

  • GE Affinity web page