Rolls-Royce announced today that the Trent 900 engine, being developed for the Airbus A380, had successfully completed a fan-blade containment test, one of the critical safety demonstrations ahead of certification by the airworthiness authorities.
During the test, which took place at the company’s Hucknall, UK, facility, the engine was accelerated to full speed before a fan blade was released at the root by an explosive charge. The blade and its debris were contained successfully and the engine performed a controlled shutdown.
Ian Crawford, Director Airbus Programmes for Rolls-Royce, said: “This was a key event in the development programme, and although computer simulations accurately predicted this result, it is always good to see it validated by the reality of the test.
“We are now focused on meeting the remaining development milestones on schedule and to delivering the Trent 900 into service successfully on the A380 in Spring 2006,” added Mr Crawford.
The Trent 900, which will be the first engine delivered on the A380, has a set of hollow, titanium fan blades measuring 116 inches in diameter, representing the largest ever designed by Rolls-Royce.
The engine made its maiden flight on the Airbus flying test bed last month and is now continuing its flight test programme of around 50 hours through to August.
According to Rolls-Royce, environmental testing shows the Trent 900 to be the world’s cleanest large turbofan, measured by emissions per pound of thrust. It is also said to be on track to be the quietest engine on the A380.
Engine certification in October 2004 will be followed by flight testing on the A380 in early 2005. The engine will be rated at 80,000lb thrust, providing significant margin for growth above the 70,000lb required at entry into service.