The research project AMPHEA is dedicated to the development of the first additively manufactured heat exchanger for an aircraft as an integrated structural component. The aim of the project is the additive manufacturing of a mass-, load- and production-optimized heat exchanger system for aviation, which can be integrated directly into the outer skin of a hybrid aircraft. The required support structures for Laser-based Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB/M) will be integrated into the component geometry in order to increase the material utilization rate of the manufacturing process.
The additive manufacturing methods open up new design possibilities, which can be used to reduce mass and increase efficiency. In addition, the successful implementation of PBF-LB/M creates the possibility of ensuring a decentralized and "on demand" production as well as spare parts procurement. This results in reduced transport and storage costs, which in turn increases the overall efficiency. Particularly for internal structures of heat exchangers, a high-quality processing must be guaranteed. Consequently, PBF-LB/M needs to be qualified for the future production of highly complex aerospace components.
Objective and expected results
The result of this project is the first additively manufactured heat exchanger integrated into an aircraft hull. Hence, the heat exchanger and the body of the aircraft form a single unit. The design procedure can be transferred to other aerospace components, so that further system integrations and optimization potentials can be exploited. The knowledge gained about the design and manufacture of heat exchangers can also be transferred to other applications, for which a high heat dissipation is required. Thus, a procedure can be derived for the topology optimization of aerospace components accounting for thermal boundary conditions.
The project AMPHEA aims to exploit the potential of additive manufacturing for the production of complex heat exchanger systems for aerospace applications. Therefore, a thermally and aerodynamically suitable design will be devised. By means of a bionic design of the complex and filigree structures, the function-integrated lightweight construction is to be realized. In addition, surface conditioning is carried out to optimize the thermal and aerodynamic transition. For this purpose, suitable exposure strategies as well as support structures will be identified based on a statistical test plan. The transferability to other geometrically complex aerospace components should be given. Finally, the developed system will be validated in a real test operation. These investigations will significantly contribute to qualify the PBF-LB/M process for aerospace applications.
The research project AMPHEA is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (number 20Q1955A). We would like to thank the project partners for their excellent support and cooperation.