Do you know how an Electronic Cigarette works?


That is a question that many people would not know how to answer, including many scientists and journalists, who talk about it but are unaware of how these types of devices work. Fortunately, the explanation of its operation is quite simple.

The so-called electronic cigarettes should be named after their function: vaporizers , this already gives us a great clue as to how they work. The big white cloud that these devices generate is not smoke; it is an aerosol made of vapor and small droplets of liquid. All the electronics and other parts inside a vaporizer are there to create this aerosol from the liquid that settles in the tank.

Every vaporizer has three main components: the battery, the tank, and the atomizer. All of these parts come in a wide variety of types, sizes, and brands, and very often you'll see two or even all three components combined into a single unit. The device must be assembled with its three main parts in order for it to work. Otherwise it won't work.

Next we will explain what function each part fulfills:


A vaporizer 's battery provides the electricity that powers the device. Almost all vaporizers use lithium or lithium ion batteries, as they can pack a lot of power into a small space; Vaporizers draw much more current than most portable electronic devices, so they need good batteries.

All vaporizers, even the smallest ones, the ones that resemble traditional cigarettes, the pen-style models, have a built-in battery. When the batteries in these types of small devices are depleted (usually after about 300 charge cycles) the entire device should be thrown away and replaced.

Larger vaporizers , called "mods," may come with built-in or removable batteries. These batteries tend to be larger and store much more energy, so the life of the device is much longer. By the time the internal battery of the mod has gone through enough cycles and its charge is no longer optimal, usually some of its other parts, such as the buttons, have already worn out.

Finally, most mods use removable batteries. These come in various sizes, but almost all modern devices use 18650 size batteries. Removable batteries have several advantages. The most obvious is that if the batteries end their life, you can change them and continue using the mod. It also allows you to quickly recharge the batteries in external chargers.


All electronic cigarettes have some kind of tank to store the liquid and feed the coil and the cotton that retains the liquid. In cigarette-type models, this may be a small disposable plastic cartridge; other more recent models use pods that come already loaded with liquid; other models have a refillable tank.

Vaporizer tanks are quite complicated. The big problem for the designer is to make a tank that allows air in, without letting liquid seep out. The simplest way is to have the resistance on the tank with the cotton or fiber wicks absorbing the liquid. This is often seen in small "clearomizer" tanks used in pen-style devices, but some larger ones use it as well.

Other tanks have the resistance at the bottom of the tank, surrounded by a chimney that leads to the nozzle. The cotton wick exits through small holes up the chimney, and the air holes are in the bottom of the tank. As long as there is enough liquid in the tank to cover the holes where the cotton exits, the interior design prevents it from escaping through the ventilation holes.


The steam is actually produced by a resistance wire or metal ribbon, wrapped around a cotton wick. Today's wicks are generally made of cotton, but silica, ceramic, and even steel mesh have been used in the past. In many ways this is the simplest part of the device; the wick carries liquid to the resistance that, heated by the energy of the battery, vaporizes it.

Some atomizers are "rebuildable", in which you have to make your own coil and prepare your own wick. Others use disposable resistor units that are simply unscrewed and replaced depending on their use.


A fully configured e-cigarette has a charged battery, a full tank of vape liquid, and a coil with its wick. When you push the button (or take a puff), the battery starts heating up the resistor. Since the resistor is made of thin metal, it heats up quickly, and so does the liquid in contact with it. Almost instantly, the resistance is surrounded by a small but dense cloud of steam.

When the vaper takes a breath of air through the mouthpiece, the air enters through the holes in the tank which hits the resistance. This helps the steam rise to the nozzle, allowing more liquid to evaporate. The resistance will continue to generate steam until the airflow stops or exceeds the capacity of the cotton wick to retain liquid. Most vapers inhale for approximately five to six seconds, and with a modern vaporizer that can create a large amount of vapor.

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