Alcoa announced a 10-year, $1.1 billion agreement with Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies Corp., for state-of-the-art jet-engine components, including the first-ever aluminum fan blade for jet engines. The forging was developed for Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower® engines using an advanced aluminum alloy and a proprietary manufacturing process. Alcoa is also developing a fan-blade forging using its most advanced aluminum-lithium alloy for the PurePower engines. According to Alcoa, the aluminum fan blade is lighter and enables better fuel efficiency. The company will also supply a range of other advanced product forms, including structural castings.
Alcoa plans to use aluminum and aluminum-lithium from its Pittsburgh, Pa., and Lafayette, Ind., facilities for the front fan blades, which will be produced using proprietary manufacturing processes at its Cleveland, Ohio, plant. Alcoa facilities in Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey and Texas will supply the blades, vanes and structural components, which are produced using nickel-based superalloys and titanium as well as aluminum. The unique Geared Turbofan™ architecture of the PurePower engine allows for aluminum alloys to be used in the Pratt & Whitney-designed fan blades. The engine will be used to power some of the world’s highest-volume aircraft.