Hybrid Composite Foam-Filled Engine Fan Blades

Period of Performance: 04/07/2006 - 01/07/2007


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Wright Materials Research CO.
1187 Richfield Center
Beavercreek, OH 45430
Principal Investigator


Most of the current fan blades of aircraft engines are manufactured from Titanium. In the last decade, high-bypass turbofan engines become very popular for subsonic aircraft because of their high thrust-to-weight ratios and efficient fuel consumption among the existing aircraft engines [1]. Since the dimensions of fan blades are much larger than other components of an engine the weight and cost of an engine are strongly dependent on the fan blades. Recent research in aircraft engines has geared toward the reduction of the weight of the fan blade. A numerous of research have indicated that composite fan blades have the potential to reduce the weight (27-30%) and life cycle costs of advanced turbofan engines. Impact tests, however, revealed that composite fan blades are weak in bird striking and foreign object impact, especially around the leading edge area. Additional research is, therefore, needed to overcome this issue before composite fan blades can be used for engine applications. In this SBIR Phase I project we propose to develop a hybrid composite engine fan blade based on a low-cost net-shape fabrication technique. It will possess excellent impact resistant and flexural properties with the same or lighter than its hollow fan blade counterpart. Preliminary research results are very encouraging. The proposed research will result in a new family of lighter engine fan blades with better overall performance.