You may find that during one of your vape sessions your tank is damaged and you ask yourself, what could have caused this? It has been discovered that this could be caused by the type of e-liquid you use in your tank. E-liquids have four main ingredients: a propylene glycol (PG) or a vegetable glycerin (VG), nicotine, food grade flavoring and water. If your device has a polycarbonate plastic tank, it can crack or melt if it encounters certain e-liquid flavors.
Polycarbonate is an efficient and affordable plastic material that's was used to make traditional electronic cigarettes (e-cig) or vaporizers. Because of its ability to withstand extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, polycarbonate plastic is preferred when it comes to making durable and affordable vape tanks. However, its molecular structure can react with some compounds found in certain e-liquids.
One of the elements that react with polycarbonate plastic is citric acid. I know that the word "acid" screams danger, but citric acid is one of the natural acids which we meet on a day to day basis. It is found in citrus fruits such as oranges, grapes, lemons, etc. It is, in turn, very common in citrus e-liquid flavors. It is more, in terms of volume, in these flavors compared to other flavors. Some citrus e-liquid flavors include lime, citrus burst, citrus slam, etc. Citric acid is also present in cinnamon and cola flavors.
This natural acid reacts with the polycarbonate molecule, creating bonds and form compounds known as esters. This combination weakens the plastic and causes fog. In some extreme cases, it may cause the plastic to crack. This doesn't mean that you cannot take orange juice, which contains citric acid, in a plastic cup, no. This reaction occurs when extremely hot plastic encounters citric acid.
When buying your e-liquid, especially online, ensure you look out for warning signs attached to certain flavors. Some companies have started displaying warnings on specific flavors, stating that this item has been reported to cause damage to plastic tanks. This doesn't necessarily mean that the reaction is assured, everyone's experience is different. It is just a disclaimer.
If you feel you would rather be safe than sorry, you are encouraged to use either a glass or Pyrex tank, if you have a liking towards e-liquids that have acidic enzymes. Though a bit more expensive compared to plastic tanks, glass and Pyrex tanks are durable and do not react with elements in the e-liquid used.
To avoid the risk of having a damaged tank and replacing it every now and then, here are a few tips that can help:
- Invest in a glass or Pyrex tank - This may be a bit costly, but it saves you the trouble and expense of having to replace your tank from time to time.
- Cleaning your device - Ensuring that your spills are well cleaned can aid in giving your device a longer life span. Your tank would react to the citric acid twice as much if your device has spills. Also, keep in mind that nicotine, which is a toxic and an e-liquid ingredient, can be absorbed through the skin. Any paper towels used to clean the spills should be put in a zip-lock bag before disposing them off.
- Know your e-liquid - Ensure that you know exactly what is contained in your favorite e-liquid flavor and how its elements affect your tank. Knowing that malic and citric acids react to polycarbonate tanks is a start. If you have a plastic tank you can avoid such flavors to ensure your tank serves you for much longer.
You may decide to stick to your plastic tank or to switch to the glass or Pyrex tanks. Either way, keep a close eye on your device so that when something is off, you can point it out ASAP.