Vaping is one of the fastest-growing hobbies worldwide, with millions of people using a vape device every single day. While some people vape in an attempt to quit smoking, others simply enjoy creating billowy, flavorful clouds of vapor. Because so many people are taking up this activity, it’s a good idea to take a closer look at the science of vaping, including the components of vape devices and the most common ingredients found in vape juices.
What Makes a Vape Pen Work?
If you’re interested in understanding the science behind vaping, it’s a good idea to examine the different parts that can be found in most e-cigarettes. The three primary components of a vape pen are the mouthpiece, e-juice tank or cartridge, and the atomizer. The purpose of the mouthpiece and vape juice tank is fairly self-explanatory, but the atomizer deserves a closer examination.
The atomizer is a heating chamber, and it is the part of the e-cigarette that heats the juice until vapor is produced. Atomizers include both a wick and a heating coil. The wick draws juice from the tank and then directs it to the coil for vaporization. The heating coil in the atomizer is powered by a rechargeable battery and will generally heat the vape juice between 392 and 480 degrees Fahrenheit. The reason for such a wide temperature range is that different vape juices vaporize at different temperatures, depending on their ingredients.
What Goes Into Vape Juice?
Now that you know a little about the basic functioning of e-cigarettes, it’s time to take a closer look at the ingredients found in most vape juices. In addition to some form of artificial flavoring, the majority of juices will contain nicotine, propylene glycol (PG), and vegetable glycerin (VG). All these ingredients serve a different purpose.
The nicotine content of vape juice is the reason so many smokers try to quit cigarettes with vaping. Some vape juices provide just as much nicotine as cigarettes, while others don’t feature any at all.
The VG content of vape juice is what actually creates the vapor. VG is a fairly thick liquid, and the more of this ingredient a juice provides, the more vapor it is possible to create.
Last, PG is what binds the artificial flavoring to the vapor. Without PG, the vapor created by an e-cigarette would be significantly less flavorful. Vapers that care more about flavor than vapor production will typically choose a juice with a higher ratio of PG to VG.
Inhaling the Vapor
Different atomizers have different levels of resistance, which is how much electricity is able to pass through the coils. An atomizer’s resistance is measured in ohms, and the ohm level determines how a person inhales the vapor, as well as the ideal PG-VG ratio.
With atomizers that have an ohm level of one or higher, users will take what’s known as a mouth-to-lung hit (MTL). To take an MTL hit, the user will first draw vapor into the mouth, hold it momentarily, and then inhale the vapor into his or her lungs.
Atomizers with an ohm level under one allow for direct-lung (DL) hits, which is also known as sub-ohm vaping. DL hits involve inhaling the vapor directly into the lungs.