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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


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.


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.


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



Download the NATHENA newsletter to know more.

Newsletter 01 (French)

Newsletter 02 (French)


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:



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