Rolls-Royce starts manufacture of largest fan blades for next-generation UltraFan® demonstrator

An Artist's impression of the UltraFan demonstrator ©

Rolls-Royce has started manufacture of the world’s largest fan blades, for its UltraFan® demonstrator engine that will set new standards in efficiency and sustainability.

A set of the composite blades have a 140-inch diameter, which is almost the size of a current narrow-body fuselage and are being made at the company’s technology hub in Bristol, U.K. The milestone also marks the official start of production of parts for the demonstrator.

UltraFan® will set new standards in efficiency and sustainability, offering a 25% fuel reduction compared to the first generation of Trent engine and deliver the same percentage reduction in emissions. Part of that efficiency improvement comes from UltraFan®’s composite fan blades and fan case, which reduce weight on a twin-engine aircraft by 700kg, the equivalent of seven people traveling “weight free”.

UltraFan®, which will start ground tests in 2021 and which will be available towards the end of this decade, is a scalable design from 25,000lb all the way up to 100,000lb.

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