Additive ManufacturingAdditive Mass Production - AMPAerospace AM

GE9X, the largest and most 3D printed jet engine ever, is flying

The engine is known for its 3D printed fuel nozzles

Stay up to date with everything that is happening in the wonderful world of AM via our LinkedIn community.

The world’s largest jet engine took its maiden flight over the Mojave Desert on Tuesday, March 14. The GE9X engine – which has been known in the 3D printing world in particular as a case study for its 3D printed fuel nozzles – is a showstopper. At 134 inches, its fan diameter is so tall and wide that Shaquille O’Neil would fit inside the engine’s cover with Kobe Bryant sitting on his shoulders. The whole engine is as wide as the body of an entire Boeing 737.

GE Aviation developed the GE9X engine for Boeing’s next-generation wide-body passenger jet, the 777X. It has received orders for more than 700 GE9X engines from airlines including Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Lufthansa, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways. The GE unit is also developing the backup electrical system for the plane.

Images credit: GE Aviation

GE engineers could go so big because they designed fan blades and the fan case from the most advanced carbon fiber composites, reducing weight and cutting the number of blades from 22 to 16, compared with its predecessor, the GE90. The GE9X also includes 3D printed fuel nozzles produced by the GE Additive division, parts made from light- and heat-resistant ceramic composites, and other new technologies. As a result, the engine will be also up to 10 percent more fuel-efficient than the GE90, which GE developed for the current version of the 777 jet.

All of this goodness allows the engine to produce up to 100,000 pounds of thrust — several times more than the thrust of many fighter jets. Powering GE Aviation’s “Flying Test Bed” based at an airstrip in Victorville, California, the engine spent more than four hours in the air during its first flight. GE test engineers onboard and on the ground used the time to check essential engine functions, a key requirement for starting a regiment of airborne tests the engine must complete before it can be certified for service.

Ted Ingling, general manager of the GE9X program at GE Aviation, said the flight tests would last for several months and allow the team to gather data on “how the engine performs at altitude and during various phases of flight.

Images credit: GE Aviation

The engine recently completed ground-based icing tests at GE Aviation’s facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and continues crosswind testing at the Peebles Test Operation in Ohio. Engine certification is expected in 2019.

Composites AM 2024

746 composites AM companies individually surveyed and studied. Core composites AM market generated over $785 million in 2023. Market expected to grow to $7.8 billion by 2033 at 25.8% CAGR. This new...

Victor Anusci

Victor does not really exist. He is a pseudonym for several writers in the 3D Printing Media Network team. As a pseudonym, Victor has also had a fascinating made-up life story, living as a digital (and virtual) nomad to cover the global AM industry. He has always worked extra-hard whenever he was needed to create unique content. However, lately, as our editorial team has grown, he is mostly taking care of publishing press releases.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
Close Popup
Privacy Settings saved!
Privacy Settings

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

Technical Cookies
In order to use this website we use the following technically required cookies
  • wordpress_test_cookie
  • wordpress_logged_in_
  • wordpress_sec

Decline all Services
Accept all Services


Join our 12,000+ Professional community and get weekly AM industry insights straight to your inbox. Our editor-curated newsletter equips executives, engineers, and end-users with crucial updates, helping you stay ahead.