E-cigarette aerosol collection using converging and straight tubing Sections: Physical mechanisms

Markus Hilpert, Vesna Ilievski, Shao Yiu Hsu, Ana M. Rule, Pablo Olmedo, German Drazer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hypothesis: Identification and quantification of harmful chemicals in e-cigarette aerosol requires collecting the aerosolized e-liquid for chemical analysis. In 2016, Olmedo at al. empirically developed a simple method for aerosol collection by directing the aerosol through a sequence of alternating straight and converging tubing sections, which drain the recovered e-liquid into a collection vial. The tubing system geometry and flow conditions promote inertial impaction of aerosolized e-liquid on tube walls, where it deposits and flows into the collection vial. Experiments: We use high-speed optical imaging to visualize aerosol transport in proxies of the collection system. We also determined collection efficiencies of various configurations of the collection system. Findings: A turbulent jet emerges from converging conical sections and impinges onto the wall of downstream tubing sections, resulting in inertial impaction and deposition of the aerosol. For inertial impaction to occur the tip radius of the converging section must be small enough for a jet to be formed and the sequence of tubing sections must be curved in a polygon-like manner such that the jet emerging from a converging section impinges on the downstream tube wall. The collection efficiency is significantly smaller without such curvature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)804-815
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Colloid And Interface Science
StatePublished - Feb 15 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Aerosol collection
  • Coalescence
  • E-cigarette
  • Inertial impaction
  • Visualization experiments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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