Project duration: 1 January 2018 – 30 September 2020


Aluminium is used in aerospace to decrease the weight of planes in order to consume less kerosene. The mechanical strength of pure aluminium is not very high (e.g. aluminium foils). This can be improved by the introduction of nanoparticles inside the Al matrix, resulting in a much stronger alloy.

In addition, the project aims at using fine industrial aluminium residues in a short recycling loop to use it as raw material. A unique partnership is implemented involving raw material suppliers (Nanomakers, Mecachrome), 3D printer manufacturer (Renishaw), aerospace intermediates and end users (Zodiac and Mecachrome) and expertise of academics (KU Leuven, CEA).

The solution (technology)

Dispersing the nanoparticles homogenously in the Al matrix is difficult. This can however be achieved by mixing nano silicon carbide and aluminium powder. This powder is a very good starting material for 3D printers. Printers can manufacture 3D pieces than can be used for aerospace.

The project will demonstrate the upscaling of an advanced nano and metallurgical process, comprising both aluminium nanocomposite powder production and its conversion to a redesigned airplane seat component using additive manufacturing technology and recycled aluminium.


  • Nanomakers, France (Lead partner)
  • French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), France
  • Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium
  • Mecachrome, France
  • Renishaw, United Kingdom
  • Zodiac Aerospace, France

For more information, please visit the project website.