Dr. Sascha Gierlings lifts a blisk out of the machine, but it looks different to what you might expect. The prototype still has a silvery shine to it, just like a piece of jewelry, but its blades look slimmer than conventional blisks. It's supposed to look this way. "This is precisely where the trend for blisks in the next generation of GTF engines is heading."
By about 2030, these blisks could help power the aircraft that will eventually succeed the Airbus A320neo and the C Series. As before, this new blisk design is the brainchild of MTU engineers. At the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT in Aachen, Gierlings has been busy addressing the question of how best to produce the new blisks.
"Advanced compressor architecture calls for new blade designs, something we have already been able to depict using computer models," explains developer Dr. Bertram Kopperger. Kopperger, who heads up the production technology program at MTU Aero Engines in Munich, was the one who commissioned "Technikum Blisk", the dedicated blisk prototyping facility at Fraunhofer IPT. "To demonstrate the potential of design optimizations in practice, we have to set up a rig and then run a great number of tests on the prototypes."