E-liquid Chemistry Education

Our goal at Nude Nicotine is to make your vaping experience as enjoyable as possible. We’ve done our best to gather some helpful information for your vaping needs, but please tell us if we can provide you with additional information. We plan on regularly updating this page, so check back often for updates!

As always, if you feel an additional section should be added, or if you would like some clarification on any information posted here, please contact us!

New Product Release – Nicotine Salt Nicotine Bases!

You may notice a new tab on the Products Page on the Nude Nicotine website – have a look at the Nicotine Salts Nicotine Base page!!! Rarely do we have new nicotine formula releases.

“Signature,” “Hit,” and “Smooth” Nicotine Salt formulations are designed around harnessing the differing properties of nicotine inhalation character. Each of these three formulae are a differing blend of multiple cationic acids known to bind electro-negative nicotine on the tobacco leaf, and others that we have unique IP in-development at the laboratory!

 

 

 

GC/MS Critical Info: Butyric Acid Modulates Diketone Toxicity:

If you haven’t vaped a yogurt flavor from your local eLiquid manufacture, you may just want to take a second look at the formulation of these products.
Butyric acid is the common ingredient in these yogurt flavor, the major constituent imparting the rancid and creamy flavor of cultured yogurt. Cool chemistry to think about! And to-date, no journalistic evidence exists proving the butyric acid chemical to be harmful by inhalation by itself.

“BY ITSELF” being the operative words here. Recent rummaging around the interwebs and speaking with an old UCSD professor of mine has yielded an astounding piece of literature –

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18940962

TL;dr (science stuffs) = Butyric Acid is a modulator of diacetyl reductase, the emzyme that breaks down diketones of many forms (think diacetyl, acetion, acetyl propionyl, etc…). If butyric acid is present in solution, it will downregulate the activity of diacetyl reductase, effectively allowing the diketones to remain in your body for longer periods of time, leaving them to their naughty business for longer periods of time (not good).

Conclusion – Butyric acid in eLiquids should be safe for inhalation based upon the current literature, however its presence should be accompanied by NO DIKETONE CONTENT WHATSOEVER. This presents an increased health-risk if they are indeed present in solution.

As a result, we are adding butyric acid as our newest analyte-of-interest to the Nude Nicotine library of compounds to detect for. Our qualifications will be a requirement of non-detectable results for all 3 major diketones if the presence of butyric acid is positive.

 

Vape safe friends! Best regards,

Jake

CEO, lead chemist – Nude Nicotine

Storing Your Nicotine Solution

We’ll admit, nicotine ‘aint cheap. Next to your flavoring compounds, nicotine solution is likely the most expensive component of your DIY mixing. Why let it go to waste? While the shelf-life of your solution may vary depending on a multitude of factors (to be explained in a few), there are 3 variables you can help to mitigate oxidation, thus preserving your precious nicotine from unwanted oxidation and hydration.

Without getting heavy into oxidation chemistry, let’s simplify by saying that these three buggers accelerate the oxidation of nicotine in your solution to its nicotine oxides. Not necessarily dangerous for inhalation (as all solution possesses this to some degree), however it will add to the commonly seen brownish/yellowish (/sometimes pinkish) hue, rank-wet-dog (pyridine) smell, and peppery taste. Sounds delicious? Ew (Shout-out Jimmy Fallon). These factors are evident of an oxidized nicotine solution, whether kept out of proper storage conditions, or preformulated and not fresh for use.

 

THESE ARE YOUR ENEMIES – FIND WHERE THEY SLEEP. SEEK. DESTROY. KILL.

1)     Oxygen     2)     UV Light     3)     Heat

 

1) Oxygen is pesky. It easily solvates into solution by shaking, and will flood any container when uncapped and exposed to the atmosphere. It is everywhere in out atmosphere, thus is pretty difficult to isolate from your nicotine. However a wee bit isn’t going to degrade the solution. Naturally you will need to shake your solution, uncap for use, and recap. Although you can MINIMIZE this process! Consider dividing a 500mL bottle into x4 125mL bottles in order to limit oxygen exposure. With only 125mL exposed at one time, 375mL remain properly capped and stored from excessive oxygen. This is our thought process behind the Nude ARMOR argon-purged nicotine base.

2) UV light is a much easier variable to stamp out. Cobalt or amber tinted storage solutions block the UV-range of light from entering a storage bottle. An even easier solution is to place out of all rays of light… say… a freezer? Which leads us to #3:

3) What is this exotic piece of lab equipment you call a freezer? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make sure that your freezer is not accessed by children if storing your nicotine solution. Lock if necessary. Temperature is always a catalyst to reactions, and in this case (bad joke time):

 

Pink Floyd voice screams in – “WE DON’T NEED NO… OXIDATION…”

Cue awesome guitar:  brow brow brow …..

Pink Floyd voice screams in – “WE DON’T NEED NO LIGHT FSHO……….”

Cue awesome guitar:  brow brow brow …..

Everyone’s voice screams in – “Just put your nic behind that, LOCKED freezer wall.”

 

Few last points to cover – shelf-life varies largely by nicotine strength, as well as PG/VG ratio. Higher nicotine strengths will possess more nicotine molecules, less likely to be completely solvated by their carrier (PG/VG). Put simply – 100mg/mL formulations will keep for less time than a 24mg/mL formulation. PG is also a much better solvent for this purpose – it has an extremely low viscosity, will dissipate dispersed oxygen bubbles quickly (say that 4 times fast!), and has a longer shelf-life chemically (2 years from DOM, vs. VG – 1 year). Thus some may only see a short shelf-life for a 100mg/mL solution kept on a shelf compared to a 24mg/mL solution kept in multiple frozen aliquots. Remember, nicotine solution solvated in wither PG or VG WILL NOT FREEZE!

 

A few other points to cover – if storing your nicotine solution for longer than 6 weeks, please do transfer your solution into a glass bottle for prolonged storage (Remember – amber/cobalt!). Some plastics will not provide a complete vapor barrier against outside atmosphere and thus can leak over time. In addition, some LDPE plastics are known to have such a low density as to allow for other medium-sized molecules to migrate through the plastic wall. Not such a good thing to happen when a glass bottle would have solved all problems!

 

We at Nude Nicotine have cryogenically frozen pure, 100mg/mL, 24mg/mL, and 6mg/mL concentrations a while back (~8mo ago as of 9/14) which show minimal degradation. It is possible to store your solution for some time without a worry! Just keep the oxygen, UV light, and heat at bay.

Throat Hit vs Smooth Vapor: What are the Factors?

Throat Hit vs Smooth Vapor: What are the Factors?:

We regularly receive comments about the various factors that contribute to a stronger throat hit and/or a smoother vapor in Nude Nicote eliquid (and all eliquids in general). Hopefully these guidelines will help you in selecting the correct solvent ratio for your purpose:

Vegetable glycerin (VG) [Read more…]

Additional eLiquid Ingredients – Sweetners, Sours, and Salts

This list of sweeteners, sours, and salts is constantly being updated as we are always requested information on ingredients by individuals on an almost daily basis  If you have an ingredient you would like to see added to this list, get in touch with us!

 

Ethyl Maltol (EM) – Common confectionary sweetner used in eliquids to round out harsh upper notes and sweeten sour/bitter flavors. EM can be purchased as crystals or fine powder, but is recommended to be solvated in powder form for increased surface area. Solutions of EM are commonly found at between 2.5-10% depending on the carrier solvent. PG can attain a max solubility of ~100mg/mL (10% solution) of EM, while VG can only obtain ~55mg/mL. However, ethyl alcohol is suitable for very saturated solutions of ~150mg/mL and recommended for maximum EM solubility as a carrier solvent. Recommended dilutions for final end concentrations of EM in eliquid are ~1-5mg/mL (0.1-0.5%) to start, of course adjusting for taste preference. Remember EM doesn’t magically make eliquids ‘pop,’ flavor art takes research!

Sucralose – common sweetener composed of fructose and glucose sugars. Much heavier of a ‘sweet’ flavor that ethyl maltol, but ideal for fruit flavors needing a sweetness boost. Not as commonly seen as a sweetener predissolved in PG, VG, or ethyl alcohol for eliquids on the open market, but is widely used by a variety of vendors. Targets of ~1-5mg/mL are sought in final eliquid concentrations for the sweetness boost. Sucralose can commonly be obtained in food-grade from a variety of different manufacturers. Splenda is a brand-name most households are familiar with – a sucralose-based sweetener.

Raspberry Ketone – The sweeteners keep coming! Raspberry ketone is a subtle tart/sweet note seen in raspberry/blackberry/berry flavors and can be used to supplement the thick sweetness commonly associated with berry flavors. USE LIGHTLY! Commonly sold in 5% solutions (50mg/mL), and recommended for use at between 0.5-2mg/mL.

Citric Acid – One of the more common ingredients used to give eliquids their tart flavor. Citric acid can be obtained as a diluted liquid in many different grades, as a crystalline powder, or from natural sources (think lemon/lime juice!) Stock solutions of citric acid made specifically for vaping are seen as 5-10% solution. However Citric acid is very particular for final concentrations. While in sweet citrus flavors where the overtones do not interfere with the flavor palate, citric acid can be used at 0.2-1%, while with competing flavors, a maximum concentration of 0.1-0.5% is sought.

Malic Acid – The most well-known ‘tart’ener which comprises TFA’s “Sour” and many other branded sour additives. Mixed in similar fashion to citric acid, and can be purchased similarly as a powder, concentrated, or diluted liquid. Nerd fact – the citric acid cycle that occurs in our mitochondria cycles between both the citric and malic acids!  Woohoo!

Tartaric Acid – A lesser-known ‘tart’ener, but renown for its ability to mask sweetness at light concentrations. Concentrations of 0.05-0.1% are usually sufficient to calm sweetness from varied blends, but is highly specific to certain flavorings. While tartaric acid is not the active ingredient in FlavourArt’s Magic Mask, we feel that lower concentrations of tartaric acid, if used with complementary acids, can mimic the pH-softening effect of Magic Mask.

Acetic Acid – Acetic acid is the main ingredient in vinegar, commonly seen in the laboratory in pure liquid form as glacial acetic acid (caustic!!!). The forms of acetic acid used in eliquids are mostly that of vinegars, which can be sourced as in an almost infinite amount of preparations. Many exotic flavoring blends get their finishing touches and “pop” from specific vinegars! To list a few: apple cider, coconut, malt, raisin, sugar cane, rice, white, and wine vinegars have been experimented with at one time or another in the Nude Nicotine laboratory.

Anatomy of a Nude Nicotine Package

Anatomy of a Nude Nicotine Package:

Our packages containing 100mg/mL nicotine base, and our other nicotine products shipped through USPS ‘Priority Mail’ have a unique packing method that ensures a leak-free, robust, and safe packing solution for all of your Nude Nicotine products. The following pictures demonstrate the packaging of a 250mL bottle of 100mg/mL nicotine base:

Layer 1: LDPE Polycone Caps provide a tight seal against our PET amber plastic and glass bottles:

Polycone LDPE Cap

Layer 2: LDPE heat-sealed bags ensure if a leak is to occur, the solution will stay contained within the LDPE bag. (Of course if you see any evidence of liquid leak into the LDPE bag, please contact us immediately. We will aid you in the disposal if this liquid and issue a replacement IMMEDIATELY) :

LDPE-Bagged Glass Bottle

Step 3: Preparations of the rigid cardboard container in which the sealed bag will rest:

Bottom Packaging Layer

Steps 4 and 5: Additional sealing of the bottle in a second protective layer – bubble wrap followed by a third layer – bubble mailer:

Bubble Wrap

Additional Sealed Bubble Bag Layer

Step 6: Top layer of protection the thrice-sealed bags:

Top Packaging Layer

Step 7: Appropriate ‘fragile’ and ‘glass’ labels placed visibly on packaging:

Appropriate Warning Labels

And there you have it!  A properly packaged Nude Nicotine order on its way safe-and-sound to its destination anywhere across the US.

But does it stand up to the test?

Let’s have a look: The Nude Nicotine Package Drop:

Laboratory Tips on the Measurement, Steeping, and Storage of eLiquids

In this article, we will be reviewing our laboratory practices here at Nude Nicotine for the manufacture of eliquids from 100mg/mL nicotine base. However, we will write this article with the home DIY user in mind with respect to skill level and equipment available:

 

Measurement tools for PG/VG/Nicotine/Flavoring:

Here at Nude Nicotine, we utilize a variety of glassware, polypropylene containers, graduated cylinders, syringes, serological pipettes, and many other tools for our measurements. Here we will review some tools at our disposal that are not outrageously expensive and can be realistically obtained for the home DIY user.

Transfer pipettes:

transfer pipettes

Transfer pipettes, or pasteur pipettes, are commonly seen in plastic or glass with detachable rubber bulbs. Transfer pipettes are a VERY inexpensive and easy solution for the transfer of small amounts of eliquids when graduated measurements are not necessary. Commonly plastic transfer pipettes are molded with plastic graduations but most are uncalibrated and very difficult to read a meniscus in.

 

Syringes:

10mL syringe

Syringes are a great way to utilize a high powered suction action for the transfer and measurement of viscous eliquids, commonly high in VG content. Most, if not all syringes with graduations are required to be calibrated, so you can be assured that the volume you are measuring is indeed true. Syringes are fairly inexpensive and a must-have tool for any DIY formulator in 1mL, 2.5mL, 5mL, 10mL, 20mL, and 60mL sizes. Most syringes are disposable if not constructed of glass. We also recommend the use of serological pipette tips (or syringes) to be used for the measurement of nicotine, as these tools minimize the probability of spills in comparison to pouring from a graduated cylinder.

 

Serological pipettes:

serological pipette

Serological pipettes are a vacuum and gravity/pressure-operated measurement tool for non-viscous fluids. A disposable pipette tip is inserted into the unit, which provides suction of the liquid up the pipette tip, as well as the proper flow, or pressure, to expel the liquid. Flavorings, PG, and nicotine are very easily and quickly measured using serological pipettes, however closed-tip designs are too restrictive for the flow of viscous VG. We also recommend the use of serological pipette tips (or syringes) to be used for the measurement of nicotine, as these tools minimize the probability of spills in comparison to pouring from a graduated cylinder. Common sizes for serological pipette tips are 1mL, 5mL, 10mL, 25mL, 50mL, and 100mL. While the electrical units range from $150-400, manual models can be had for $50-100 and pipette tips are a great alternative expense-wise to syringes.

Graduated cylinders:

graduated cylinders

Everyone knows these! They are a very easy tool to read graduated measurements. They are inexpensive, reusable if washed clean with distilled water, and a great tool for the DIY home formulator. However, it is critical to be sure all liquid is evacuated from the cylinder to ensure a proper dispense. Viscous liquids like VG will take some time to extract from a graduated cylinder, and it is advised for smaller measurements, stick to a more controlled measurement solution such as a serological pipette or syringe. One additional piece of advice – VG’s viscosity also lends itself to its adhesiveness, which can prove a problem in the lengthy dispense times from borosilicate glass graduated cylinders. (While for PG, this is less of a problem). Therefore we recommend polpypropylene (PP) graduated cylinders for the measurement of VG, while borosilicate glass should be used for the majority of other measurements.

Techniques and Machinery for Mixing and Steeping:

Most mixing for the DIY home formulator can be performed by hand. Nicotine is very non-viscous and disperses well in solution, along with a wide selection of flavorings. The only real problem arises in mixing volumes of eliquids with VG. Due to its viscosity, VG makes obtaining a well-mixed solution difficult. However, persistent hand-shaking will eventually obtain a well-mixed solution. IF you require some assistance, hobby-based paint bottle shakers work excellent for mixing bottles of eliquids. Here at the laboratory, we use a pneumatic-powered apparatus similar to a paint can shaker, but this is obviously overkill for most IDY home formulation scenarios. A quick confirmation can be done by visualizing an even dispersion of bubbles throughout the solution after thorough mixing, as well as the absence of any visible nicotine ‘pockets,’ evident as very transparent ‘whips’ in solution.

As for steeping, three variables are critical to shortening your steep time, while not endangering the chemical integrity of the eliquid. Avoiding heat, excess UV light, and to provide ample agitation. Our goal is to oxidize flavoring molecules and ensure they are adequately solvated by the PG/VG solvents without oxidizing the nicotine:

Heat:

AVOID excessive heat at all costs! Heat will only accelerate the oxidation of nicotine. While it will also accelerate the oxidation of the flavorings, the activation energy to do so is much lower than required. Within our laboratory, we have concluded that a room-temperature after bath between 20-30C is ideal for maintaining a stable steep temperature.

Agitation:

Agitation is key in achieving adequate dispersal of your flavoring in solution. Constant agitation would be ideal, but unless you have access to a shaker, this might not be attainable. However, this is not needed in most cases. Another way to assist in agitation is through the use of sonication. By pulsing sound waves through the eliquid, all molecules in solution are further agitated and dispersed, all while in the absence of added heat. This is why sonication is a great method for agitation and won’t accelerate oxidation of your nicotine. A frequency of ~600Hz should provide adequate agitation but remain under the activation energy required to accelerate the oxidation of nicotine further. These sonicators are obviously intended for the laboratory, but a common home jewelry cleaner can work wonders as well. Make sure the bath is filled with distilled water to prevent buildup of mineral deposits on the interior of your sonicator, and have at it! Common sonication times range from 3-10 minutes per session. Give your liquid some time to settle in between sonications.

Oxygen:

Oxygen is helpful in the steeping process, especially to accelerate the oxidation of flavoring molecules. If kept at room temperature and away from UV light, eliquid will be at the optimum ‘steeping’ conditions, avoiding the unwanted oxidation of nicotine in solution. Feel free to steep with your caps open! It can help to evaporate excess ethanol in solution from flavorings, and in combination with ample shaking/sonication, is an excellent approach to accelerating the steeping of eliquids.

Storage of 100mg/mL Nicotine Base and Flavored (Diluted) eLiquids:

For 100mg/mL nicotine base, we recommend storage in a freezer capable of temperatures between -10-20C. For short-term storage under months, PET bottles are more than adequate. However for longer storage times, we recommend the use of glass bottles and storage under argon gas. By minimizing the damage done from our three enemies heat, light (hidden in the freezer), and oxygen (argon displaces atmospheric oxygen sealed inside the storage bottle), we can lengthen the expiration of our nicotine base to its maximum potential.

As for diluted eliquids <36mg/mL (3.6%), storage in a cool (<40C), dry place away from light is an ideal short-term storage environment. However, for longer-term storage, we advise using a refridgerator in the ange of 2-8C. These storage guidelines can also be applied to flavor concentrates as well.

As always, if you feel an additional section should be added, or if you would like some clarification on any information posted here, please contact us!