Objective

We needed a heating element in order to keep our battery warm in space. We needed an efficient solution that would spread heat evenly and fit the dimensions of our battery.

Final heating element wrapped around battery

Execution

After lots of experimentation, we decided on using nichrome wire because of its high resistance. To shape it to our desired shape, we used a 3D printed guide to bend the wire. The challenge was creating this guide in CAD so that when you bend the wire, the wire never requires overlap. Basically, we needed a continuous, uninterrupted wrap. After wrapping with the guide, we neatly covered the coil with Kapton tape, which is thermally conductive but also acts as an electronic isolator. This tape kept the wire in place, prevented a short circuit, and spread the heat evenly.

Wire wrapped around guide
SolidWorks Rendering of Wire and Guide
SolidWorks rendering of wire taken out of guide
Parts shown in print bed before assembly with CA glue
Fabrication of coil with 3D printed guides