The New Additive manufacTuring Heat ExchaNger for Aeronautic (NATHENA) aims at developing new complex inner structures for heat exchangers. Financed 100% by the European Union.

Heat Exchanger

Project aim

NATHENA aims its research at developing an innovative heat exchanger for civil aircraft. In classic heat exchangers, the structural geometry is optimized with the latest technology breakthroughs. However, these designs are not the heat exchanger’s design ultimate optimization. They are only the result of production mean, where internal channels have limited shape possibilities. When taking additive manufacturing into the process, the design can surpass these limitations, creating brand new efficiency models. The NATHENA project aims at developing an adaptable and modular compact heat exchanger (CHX), optimized at multiple scales.

Overall content

The NATHENA project focuses on proving with a real CHX that additive manufacturing can benefit the whole aeronautics industry with new and complex heat exchanger inner structures. It will allow an efficient hybrid propulsion system. Through expert simulation, crafting and testing, thermal and weight performances can be improved, while maintaining or improving other constraints.

Two materials will be used during the project:

  • Aluminum AS10, a commonly used alloy for heat exchangers.
  • Inconel™ 718, an alloy that, while not ideal at first sight, has specific additive properties that may improve results over aluminum.

The set goals will be reached using thermal, mechanical and fluidic simulations applied to a modular design to form a matrix of complex inner structures. Weight reduction will be present through topological and parametric optimization carried out iteratively. This will ensure the most efficient CHX model.

After manufacturing extremely detailed samples on a high definition metal 3D printer such as the FormUp 350, tests will be carried out by the Institute von Karman.

Project information


Grant agreement ID: 785520

Start date End date
March, 1st 2018 February, 28th 2022

Founded under:


Overall budget:
€ 1,499,177.50

EU contribution:
€ 1,499,177.50

Coordinated by:



Find out more on CORDIS


    A strong actor in the aeronautics industry, the SOGECLAIR group designs, crafts and supports innovative products & solutions for civil and military transports. Their R&D policy supports the participation in programs such as the futur aircraft and autonomous vehicles.
    TEMISTh is a spin-off of the IUSTI laboratory created in 2012 and specialised in thermal energetic efficiency. They develop digital tools and virtual concepts dedicated to 3D printed heat exchangers.
  • AddUp
    AddUp is the European leading OEM metal 3D printing manufacturer. With its unique technologies allowing for premium quality and industrial productivity, the company ensures that NATHENA will be an additive manufacturing success. Their technical know-how in manufacturing allows for high-quality parts and excellent productivity.
  • von Karman Institute
    The von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics was founded in 1956 by Profesor Von Karman as an international center for the study and research of NATO's citizens. The Institute encourages research on experimental, digital and theoretical aspects of liquids and gas flux in aerospace and aeronautics.
Thermo-fluidal simulation of innovative heat exchangers Complex exchanger conception Aluminium/Inconel™ (TRL4) demonstrator Validation through wind tunnel testing
Compact Heat Exchanger NATHENA Thermal Simulation Compact Heat Exchanger NATHENA Compact Heat Exchanger NATHENA Wind testing
Temisth SOGECLAIR Aerospace AddUp Von Karman Institute


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