Field Ready-Nebula Gel IV Blood & Fluid Warmer

Gel based IV bag warmer for blood, saline, antibiotics and more, optional field battery with 12v, 24v, 110v, 220v power options

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Nebula Gel IV bag warmer that is both cheap , durable and easy to use. 24v, 110v, or 220v
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Setup A , Single Nebula Gel Bag warmer in Vacuum Sealed Pack
Stand alone heater hangs on the bottom of bag warmer. Heater is embedded inside a Gel Core Sleeve, giving stability of the IV bag temperature and stays warm a while even after power is removed due to thermal mass heat retention. Comes in Vacuum Sealed Bag for disaster disbursement.

i. Concept- Is the project creative, original, functional, and pushing boundaries? Does the project effectively address the selected challenge?

Yes, Using a gel pack as a heater and mass to keep fluids warm longer is an idea I have never seen myself. The Challenge was to create a fluid and blood warmer and I think this has nailed it.

ii. Design- Is there a depth of design detail available (like a system design, CAD models, project test methods, etc.)? Is there base-level planning for the functionality (e.g., functional block diagram, list of specifications and descriptions of how they will be met, etc.)? How user-friendly is the design?

The design is simple and all the steps are being uploaded as progress is made.

iii. Production- Is the project realistically reproducible (taking into consideration necessary materials, skills, and production processes)? Are the manufacturing processes detailed? Are those processes realistic for scalability?

Every step of the development is documented, so it can be replicated.

iv. Benchmark- How well is the project impact and viability demonstrated? Are estimated costs realistic? How well does the project improve upon other currently available solutions?

It is a much cheaper option and the same concept of a heater core and gel pack can be applied many ways.

v. Communication- How thoroughly have the Final Round requirements been completed? How well documented is the project? How “open” is the design? 

The design is completely open, on custom tools need to be made and should be avail in any case around the world.

First Goal -  This Gel Core IV Bag Heater is easily build able and repeatable without special training or education following a pattern and recipe for production.

Second Goal -Cheap, easily obtainable off the shelf parts that require minimal assembly and can either be 3D printed or cast duplicates in low volumes without getting into injection molding processes.

Third Goal , When the heater has been used it must be able to be sanitized with both liquid surface sanitizers and UVC light sanitizers without breaking down so it may be used several times.

Fourth Goal- Quality of function, even with cheap parts the warmer must function indoors and outdoors in a disaster situation, both in a environment where there is mains 110v - 220v and  running on battery for a few hours while patients are being transferred around in triage between power sources.

Parts Ordered

AC 100-240V to DC 24V 5A Power Supply 


10A DC 24V Thermostat STC-1000 Relay Output(24V)


EBL 8-Bay Battery Charger for AA


4pcs Polyimide Heating Film Insulated 24V 30W PI Heater Plate Adhesive For Heating Components


AmazonBasics AA High-Capacity Ni-MH Rechargeable Batteries (2400 mAh), Pre-charged - Pack of 8 x 2


8 x AA 12V Battery Holder Case Box Wired ON/Off Switch w Cover Pack of 2


1 Pound Bag of Water Beads - Clear


GE Sealants & Adhesives Silicone All Purpose Sealant 10.1 Ounce Clear


Vacuum Sealer Bags - 2 Pack 11" x 50' Commercial Grade Sealer Saver Rolls for Foodsaver and Sous Vide (Total 100 feet)


Total Parts 125.20

These parts could be significantly reduced by eliminating the battery powered feature for AC only saving around 40-50 dollars. Also the water beads, battery holder, polyimide heater and power supply could all be purchased in bulk orders dropping their cost to around half or less. This would make parts cost on the battery powered version to 50-60 dollars.

Alternate setup option, Have a field case with power supply thermostats built into the case. The Heater and Sensor are embedded permanently into the Gel Bag. When prepping for use you plug it up to the case and let the thermostat power the heater and regulate, once up to temp you unplug and use it with a patient

Tools I already had

- Food saver vacuum bags

-Food Saver Vacuum Sealer

-Soldering Iron



-3d Printer...

Read more »

  • 2nd test tonight, single layer gel vacuum bag

    Josh Starnes06/23/2020 at 09:38 0 comments

    this is the same vacuum bag but now the heater is on the outside of the gel instead of the inside of the bag, this should give more even heating , we shall see! This is still a two 30 watt heater configuration. I did a 22 minute video for this one I will link. It did take longer to warm up at about 20 minutes , but the heat was more even. The gel was pre warmed up so it is not a fair comparison to test one so I will need to run this one again.  The next setup I think I will run two heaters on each side in parallel so they get 15 watts each and spread out the warming effect.

  • 1st test of single layer vacuumed gel heater

    Josh Starnes06/23/2020 at 09:32 0 comments

    I ran the first test, this was mostly to verify I could warm the blood bag sufficiently. I have a single layer of water beads with the excess water vacuum pumped out. This impedes heat transfer but maximizes the heat retention of the gel. I did find that the blood would warm to 100 plus degrees in 15 minutes BUT I was concerned about hot spots so I tried swapping the orientation so that the heater is on the outside.

    I did an 18 minute video , getting to 100 within 15 minutes was a success but I want the hearing to be more even if possible.

  • Ver 1 bag

    Josh Starnes06/21/2020 at 07:22 0 comments

    This is the first bag, so I will still be trying out various ways to construct it. This first try I am pulling a length off the roll , sealing each end first then spot welding it to better maintain a more uniform shape. I have found this end up with far room much material and I ended up with air in the system which is something I want to avoid. I would like to reduce the profile to a single layer of water beads and then fill the voids completely  with water.

  • Gel heat retention test 1 2L volume

    Josh Starnes06/20/2020 at 08:30 0 comments

    I did not use a thermometer for this, I just wanted to get an initial idea of how the gel behaves when being heated.

    notes to keep in your mind: 

    There are three goals, First is that heat needs to spread so the warming effects on the iv bag are as even as possible. Second, The sleeve needs to retain more heat for 30-45 minutes than needed to keep a 1000 cc IV bag warm at 100 degrees F. Lastly the gel bead to water ratio needs to be as such that it does not cause heat and time to be wasted warming the thermal mass before it can be used with the IV bag.


    -My initial hypothesis that using gel in a cover would both retain heat and reduce the transfer was clearly correct. However it worked much batter than expected which is problematic. ( more on that later)

    -Water beads are cheaper and easier that making other gels from scratch

    -the size of the beads can be broken down in a blender if needed, but I think that will be too much heat flow restriction.

    -The two 30 watt heaters were able to get all the fluids up to temperature and beyond in about 15 minutes, so I feel good about using them in a bag heater.

    Cons- A maximum amount of water beads in a volume with the rest filled with water certainly works excellent for heat retention however it negates heat transfer so much that the volume does not heat evenly. That being said I was testing a volume of water beads about 2 liters, which no doubt if more than twice what I will actually end up using in the gel sleeve prototype.

    Adjustments- I need to do another heat transfer capability test that is more realistic using the actual material I intend to use for the bag and do another test.

  • update , parts came in

    Josh Starnes06/20/2020 at 08:09 0 comments

    I had my Mentor session with Field Ready and I came back with a couple of good feedback points,  Test your work and setup your product page and documentation to specifically answer all the questions a judge has to ask themselves when evaluating the project.

    OK so a few parts came in

    Water Beads

    STC1000 110v and a 24 volt version

    110/220v to 24v DC adapter

    4 x 30 watt film heater modules

    18 batteries

    2 x 8 battery holders

    11" x 16" of semi clear vacuum bag film roll

    silicon sealant

    Still need some blue food coloring to tint the gel, it is not functional but I would rather it be a blue or purple color to go along with the theme like in the pictures where I got the name Nebula.

  • DIY Thermal Mass Gel in a Hurry!

    Josh Starnes06/17/2020 at 07:19 0 comments

    So after some research, I found that the cheapest possible way to create a gel thermal mass for both holding heat and slowly transferring it to an IV bag, ( slower than just liquid water so it does not cool too quickly) There is a material was originally developed to control absorption and release of water in soil. Not too dry and not too wet.

    Gel Polymerization is the fastest way to create a Gel from distilled water, why distilled? We we don't want anything funky growing in it after the water has been added to the gel material. This material is very cheap and I believe is the easiest and fastest way to create a thermal mass gel for stability and general heat retention.

    Please Like and Follow as this will dramatically effect my ability to make this project better and more practical as an actual field ready product. Thank You!

    Here is Gel material plus water filling the spaces between the water beads. During testing we can use the level of water added to fully saturated water beads to adjust the thermal transfer rate and heat retention.

    This is the same water polymer with no water added to fully saturated beads. Water beads without the water filling the space significantly reduces the rate at which heat is lost from the gel mass in the sealed box.

    Please Like and Follow as this will dramatically effect my ability to make this project better and more practical as an actual field ready product. Thank You!

  • Comparing existing product cost to ours

    Josh Starnes06/17/2020 at 00:34 0 comments

    $1659 and the warmer is one time use, so if you need to administer another bag you burn another thermal angel unit. also the power supply only powers one thermal angel at a time for this price. However it does regulate the fluids meaning once heated it maintains that temp.

    Iv Fluid bag warmer, it DOES warm the bags, however as soon as they leave the heater the temp is dropping and no longer regulated. Essentially it is a pelican case with 12v heater built in, no battery options or 110 v on this one.  This costs $859

    I think we can do better :)

  • The first order for parts

    Josh Starnes06/16/2020 at 05:51 0 comments

View all 8 project logs

Enjoy this project?



Josh Starnes wrote 06/15/2020 at 18:36 point

hello yes it would have a thermostat and timer as well. I ordered parts and I am waiting on the shipment in the next couple days.  I will start adding the parts list today. Feel free to like and follow!

  Are you sure? yes | no

jon.knutton wrote 06/15/2020 at 11:48 point

Simple, I like it! Have you thought about integrating some functionality to control temperature?

  Are you sure? yes | no

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