Airliners are growing ever bigger to haul more people per flight, which means they need appropriately massive engines — and GE Aviation is happy to oblige. It recently conducted the first test flight of the GE9X, widely billed as the world’s largest jet engine. It’s easy to believe the claim from a glimpse (it’s as wide as a Boeing 737), but the specs back it up as well: it has a whopping 11.2ft diameter front fan that, combined with carbon fiber blades, a next-gen high-pressure compressor and a new combustor, puts out over 100,000 pounds of thrust. For comparison, some of the earliest GE90 engines aboard Boeing 777s kicked out ‘just’ 74,000 pounds.
GENERAL ELECTRIC BUILDS jet engines and wind turbines and medical gear. But the 124-year-old industrial giant is also transforming itself for the digital age. It’s fashioning software that pulls data from all this hardware, hoping to gain an insight into industrial operations that was never possible in the past. The problem is that analyzing all this data is difficult, and the talent needed to make it happen is scarce. So GE is going shopping.
To ensure a locomotive pulling a heavy load has enough grip when a winter’s blast covers the tracks in ice and snow, engineers at GE’s transportation division have spent the last five years perfecting what can be described as a supersonic hair dryer that blasts tracks clean just inches in front of a train’s front wheels.