Recent advances in materials technology, manufacturing processes, and analytical supercomputing have facilitated the creation of jet-engine fan blades that are significantly stronger, tougher, and quieter than previous iterations. This single fan blade comes from the GE90-115B, one of the largest and most powerful jet engines in the world. The engine contains twenty-two fan blades, each of which is four feet long and weighs less than fifty pounds.
Composite technology has allowed GE to design a uniquely formed curved blade that is lighter, more aerodynamic, and larger than traditional titanium blades. The GE90-115B blade is made of carbon fiber and a toughened epoxy matrix, a composite material that is extremely flexible yet highly resistant to impact. Designed using three-dimensional aerospace computer modeling technology, the blade is able to draw a massive amount of air into the engine while operating at a low noise level. The GE90-115B fan blade is a powerful fusion of cutting-edge engineering and design, and its astonishingly beautiful undulating form is a pure expression of its aerodynamic function. Its inclusion in MoMA's collection continues a tradition started in 1934 with the exhibition Machine Art, in which advanced airplane propellers were shown together with coils, ball bearings, and other machine parts of equally honest beauty.