A simplified method for trapping aerosol condensate from electronic vapourising devices for chemical analysis

Alberto Fiore (Editor), Bruna de Falco, Ed Stephens

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


    Analysing the full FDA list of 93 harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHC) in tobacco and tobacco smoke involves multiple chemical procedures and presents a major challenge even for the best laboratories. One major laboratory uses 12 separate solutions for extracting different classes of liquid and semi-volatile aerosol compounds trapped on filter pads, as well as additional methods for collecting volatile components. This poster explores a potential simplification of the trapping process that separates the low volatility components from gaseous components and reduces the need for using solvents to extract compounds of interest from filter pads.

    A novel sampling device is constructed from a 0.5 g plug of fine (4 microns diameter) silica filaments (silica “wool”) contained within a 10 mL syringe inserted between the e-cigarette mouthpiece and the pump of a vaping machine. Silica is essentially inert, and the fine filaments present a large surface area to the aerosol which readily condenses and collects on the surface of the filaments. The syringe may be chilled with dry ice to increase condensation efficiency. Unlike the Cambridge fibreglass filter pads the silica wool plug is presented with longer path length and lower packing density reducing clogging. The aerosol condensate is physically extracted from the silica wool using a large benchtop centrifuge. The gas phase can be trapped separately by arranging absorbent cartridges or sorbent tubes in series.

    Gravimetric comparisons between e-liquid lost during vaping and weight gained by the silica wool indicate that typically at least 95% of the aerosol is collected as condensate, most of which is recoverable from the silica. Results are presented for HPLC-DAD analysis of carbonyl-DNPH derivatives in aerosol condensates from vaping simple lab-made e-liquids. The carbonyls formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein, propionaldehyde, valeradldehyde and m-tolualdehyde were found to be the major constituents in aerosol condensates.

    Direct extraction of e-liquid condensate has advantages over conventional methods of trapping in that it is quick and avoids time-consuming solvent extraction of pads. Condensate and gaseous components of the aerosol are deposited and absorbed differently in the airways and lungs hence it is useful to understand how the major HPHC toxicants such as carbonyls are partitioned between the condensate and gaseous phases. Data for the condensate/gas partitioning of some semi-volatile carbonyls are presented.

    Financial support for this study was provided by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.
    Conflicts of interest: No conflicts declared by any author
    Main area of research: Preclinical/basic scienceKeywords: aerosol, chemical analysis
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Sep 2018
    EventSRNT Europe - 18th Annual Conference: Smoking and Disease - Psychiatric Clinic of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Munich, Germany
    Duration: 6 Sep 20188 Sep 2018
    Conference number: 18


    ConferenceSRNT Europe - 18th Annual Conference
    Abbreviated titleSRNT-E 2018
    Internet address


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