That darn burning taste

Posted in Product feature & design requests by nicotine on the November 13th, 2008

So we’ve been talking about the taste for awhile.

I’m currently smoking a or , but this taste has eventually led me to ditch every , whether I use it exclusively with a cartridge or I exclusively drip. I’ve got 6 atomizers, 2 pen-style and 4 ’s that produce smoke, but along with it, they produce a NASTY taste. My short term solution is to buy a bunch of atomizers (if you look around, you can get them for $7 a pop) and just replace them when they start tasting burnt. No amount of cleaning will get rid of the nasty burnt taste.

SO then. Why the burnt taste? As Jarvis has explained and diagrammed for us here in this post, there is a wick inside the filament that soaks up the liquid, which is then heated to create the vapor.

Here’s a crude diagram:

This wick starts to burn after awhile, presumably because it dries out. And, from my experience, it dries out fairly easily. No amount of coddling seems to save it from drying out and tasting terrible in a week or two.

Additionally, there is the problem of the itself leaving a residue behind. Perhaps this is also accountable for the taste: the liquid gets left behind, heats, burns, eventually it is a solid that is and that also could create a nasty taste. Here is a demonstration of the solids left behind (translated from Dutch)

So, what are the solutions? Well, I think, because of the solids left behind, that it is necessary to have a disposable . If there were no solids, or a dependable way of removing solids, we could have a permanent , but as there is no liquid that doesn’t leave one solid or another behind, then we are best served going with a disposable .

There are two disposable atomizers on the market today. The LoongTotem and the GreenCig. I have read no reviews of the GreenCig, but the LoongTotem reviews have been negative, across the board. It has some sort of paper in the cart that burns and creates a bad taste. (I searched for the image, but couldn’t find it. Can somebody help me out here?) So, there are no good out right now.

Here’s what I’m coming to. How about a longer thicker wick that goes into a cartridge that is FULL of liquid. This instead of the absorbent wool that is currently used to suspend the liquid. The cart would last longer, and the wick would remain wet constantly. By the time the solids from the liquid start to accumulate on the filament, the cart would be empty, and we could put in a fresh one. Here’s another crude illustration:

Anyhow. It’s a thought. Aside from convenience, I think that, because of the inevitable solid accumulation on the , that a disposable cart will be the only way to go.|||Drawings are great … LOL … some massive paint skills going on there.

Good idea though. So many good ideas, just no funds behind them to back them up and get them produced. hmmm….|||man either you have a tablet, or your mouse skills are better than mine.|||Looks ingenious to me. You eliminate the "roll cage" over the heater element, assure a more consistent flow of fluid, and — important to me — get rid of the core material (polyester in some cases) that ends up as stray in your or, worse, burned areas in your cartridge. Not sure why someone hasn’t tried your idea. And it shouldn’t be more expensive than the present setup, unlike making an ultrasonic mister, for instance.

Zippo lighter = inspiration.|||hell, if someone makes a good ultrasonic one, i’d pay the price.

With that being said, i would have no problem with disposable ones either.|||Yes I like these ideas. Here’s a sloppy manip of an earlier cross section I posted of a possible solution to the fiber. Incorporate a new coil/fiber, the steel wool bridge, and a bit of the ceramic into the cartridges. Would save a bit more material than the whole being thrown out.
|||Let’s consider for a moment what the atomiser does and the way it does it.

The device consists of a pot made of metal, ceramic, or a combination of those materials. In the centre of the pot is a heating coil with a material core centre. Surrounding the pot is a basket of steel wool. Rising above the pot is a bridge made of steel wool.

So that is the basic mechanical design, next what happens when we "smoke" it.

Before I talk about how the device works it’s a good idea to talk a bit about what each of the core components function is.

Steel wool bridge.

The bridge directly contacts the wool in the cartridge and by capillary action wicks the into the wool basket that surrounds the core pot.

Steel wool pot

This performs two functions,

i) it acts as the reservoir holding an amount of for use

ii) it performs the first stage of the atomisation process, more details below.

Heating coil

When heated to the correct temperature the coil creates mist from the droplets of PG and .

Heating coil wick

The wick seems to perform two actions,

i) it absorbs an amount of to provide it with direct contact to the heater coil

ii) providing thermal shock protection and heat caused deformation protection to the coil as it rapidly heats and cools.

Now we understand what each of the parts is doing, lets describe what happens

When we inhale on the device, the airflow is detected and the electronics kick in and connect the power from the to the heater coil and the timer circuit, after there has a continuous air flow of 3-5 seconds the timer circuit cuts the power to the heater coil.

When we inhale the liquid held in the wool basket is drawn into the central core of the atomiser in fine droplets, it’s these fine droplets as well as the small amount of liquid held in suspension in the heater coil wick core that is turned into the vapour we inhale into our lungs.

The amount of mist produced is reliant on a number of factors

a. the amount of held in the basket

b. the amount of fine droplets created by inhalation

c. the surface area of the heater coil

d. the internal airflow design funnelling the droplets correctly onto the heater coil

From this it would seem logical to assume that provided sufficient is available in the wool basket that a smaller sized atomiser will produce greater smoke volumes than a larger device. Think of water flowing through a pipe, a large pipe gives a slower flow, a small pipe gives a faster flow. This is rather borne out by the reviews we have all seen of sized unit and the much smaller based , the smaller wins hands down. This is purely due to the volume of air being drawn through a smaller surface area of mesh at higher velocity than the larger device and being able to draw more fine droplets onto the heating coil. The viscosity of the is an important consideration here, too thick and it wont form the initial fine droplets as it is sucked from the wool basket, too thin and it will not be held in the wool basket, but instead flow through it.

I’m only assuming the wick in the centre of the heating coil performs the actions I’ve attributed to it, it would seem to be the most reasonable suggestions for it’s existence.

Is this what we can taste as a burnt taste in some atomisers ?

Yes I believe it is one of the providers of the burnt taste and quite probably the largest contributor. I think there are two other contributors.

The first is stray fibres from the cartridge coming into contact with the heater coil, note that it will need to be in contact with the coil directly not merely the wool bridge wick, although this will become heated it’s large surface area will rapidly dissipate the heat away.

The second is evaporated off the surfaces of the atomiser. Think of the oven in your stove at home, cooking in the oven causes the walls of the oven to become dirty, this is from spatter or the condensing of vapours from the cooking. If the dirt is allowed to build up, eventually it begins to burn each time we use the oven, this is usually obvious by the amount of smoke that is produced, clean the oven and the smoke goes away. On a much smaller scale the same thing is happening inside our atomisers. It may also be happening on the wick in the centre of the coil, that would account of the blackened lumps we have seen in pictures. So regular cleaning to dissolve and remove crystallised or dried up residue is vital.

Would a different heater coil design help ?

Perhaps.

The coil of relatively fine wire is a highly effective method of producing the highest surface area of a material given a specific volume of material available. I do feel the linear shape of the coil is not the best configuration and that a circular or preferably a spiral shape may prove to be a better design to use.

I have also given some considerable thought to different shapes and materials, for example, a ceramic heater platform in a variety of different shapes, cubic, thin square, orb, ring, multi-faceted, etc but I continue to come back to the coil of wire as the most reasonably efficient method.

That will do for my ramblings so far, I hope this gives you something to think about and consider and offers up a view of what’s going on inside your little device.

BTW, how the hell they can charge what they do for them is beyond me, they is nothing complex about the design, there are no exotic materials in the build, even the finish on them is really nothing out of the ordinary … If the build cost including packaging in China was much more than US$1.00 I’d be surprised.|||I like Jarvis’s idea. I don’t really see the necessity of having the steel wool bridge, however. I’ve been straight , and I’m not trying for any degree of accuracy. So, plenty of my drips get into the ceramic pot, and directly on the coil itself, saturating the wick. I’ve found that when I put too much in, it doesn’t smoke. So then I tip the cig upwards to let the run away from the coil, draw, and get smoke. So, I’m imagining that it would function fine if I dripped without the bridge - the only thing here is that the bridge absorbs a little liquid and keeps me from having to drip so often.

So I’m proposing that the primary function of the bridge is not to draw liquid but to keep the cartridge wool away from direct contact with the coil. Only this and nothing (not much) more. It’s secondary function is just as MNZ says - it serves as a conveyance for the liquid from the cartridge down to the level of the filament. In fact, I just confirmed this - I pulled a bridge out of one of my nasty tasting atomizers, and it still produces smoke when I drip on it (still tastes nasty.) All that’s missing is a reliable conveyance.

Anyhow, here’s an iteration on MNZ’s idea, sans wire bridge and with a redesigned that works more like an audio jack or a pen cap. My concern with this is that the liquid would wick too fast and be used up too quickly, but this could be remedied with the wick material, I suppose. Also, I like MNZ’s idea of a spiral-shaped coil, rather than the current linear design. AND, I feel like the wick and coil would see the most action closest to the liquid reservoir, and I don’t have an answer for this at the moment.

|||Looks good jdrancor, with your wick design you could get rid of the steel wool bridge altogether, and perhaps even the ceramic reservoir part.
|||jarvis,

Yes I’m afraid the products are the same as everyone else’s all your paying for there is the name.

And I couldn’t agree with you more … If we were buying the device described in the original patent documents we certainly wouldn’t be having this conversation now. The described beast is about as far removed from what’s available as a Formula One car is to a lawn mower.

I think it’s all down to price, the whizzo beast that is in the patent would be hugely more expensive to and would exponentially raise the price.

Would I buy one if it was … say $500-$1000, I’m not sure.Guys, the thing to remember about patents is, they don’t have to work, and they don’t have to ever be actually built. They just have to be an original idea sketched out in enough detail to describe the idea and it’s implementation. Most patents are junk which doesn’t actually work, but it secures the IDEA.

Also, I’ve seen several sites that claim to have patents. There are probably dozens of different patents involved here. Some of them maybe for something as simple as adding one more airhole to the existing design.jd, I think the solid metal bridge is there to prevent the wool bridge from being pressed onto the heating coil. I would imagine that the turbulence and resulting pressure drop, suction effectively, of our inhalations could place quite a bit of pressure onto the wool bridge from the cartridge material, that coming into contact with the heating coil could potentially cause all sorts of nasty things to happen, not the least of which could be a wee shock in the gob mate ! Oh and the death of it’s electronics.

Looking at the possible airflow patterns, I think that the droplets are created from the basket surrounding the pot rather than from the bridge, that I think is there only to draw the liquid into the basket.
Here’s the simplest/cheapest solution to the burnt taste with the current e-cig design. With a minor redesign the steel wool bridge is hinged, it flips back, with tweezers you yank the old burnt coil/fiber out, and plug a new one in. Since it’s just a wire with a bit of thread in it it couldn’t cost more than a couple bucks for a whole bag of these things.

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