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How an atomizer works.


Introduction


The atomizer is the real heart of the eCig. It is the part that does all the work, and it is the most likely part to wear out. It is the most misunderstood component of the eCig, but, after reading this article, you will understand how one works.

Atomizers vary in size, appearance and performance, but they all function basically the same way.

Atomizer Components


The components of the atomizer, starting from the battery end to the tip of the atomizer are:

  • The threaded electical connector containing a nozzle
  • The metal inner case
  • The venturi or air mixer
  • A metal mesh sump
  • A small ceramic cup
  • A miniaturized heating coil
  • Wicking material
  • The bridge

These components are common to all atomizers. Some atomizers also have an outer casing that completely conceals the bridge. All of our current models are of this design. Some smaller ecigs have an exposed bridge, we have generally found that these ecigs don't perform up to our standards and therefore are not included in our product line.


Above: The DSE-801 style atomizer used on the Ares 801.

Below is an image of a completely dissected atomizer - this style of atomizer is used in all of our ecigs:


Click the image above for a much larger view.

How it works


The action is either triggered by a button (manual battery) or by suction (automatic battery). Once the system is energized, energy flows from the battery up into the coil. This causes the coil to generate heat, boiling the eliquid that has been trapped in the wicking material. This generates steam (infused with flavor and nicotine) that is then inhaled by the user. Once the button is released (or the user stops drawing on the mouthpiece), the metal mesh on the bridge starts to cool, as this occurs, eliquid from the cartridge starts to be wicked into the metal mesh bridge via capillary action that then drips down into the wicking, preparing the eCig for the next draw.

That's all there is to it.

Why they wear out


As you can see in the diagram above, the wire used in the coil is (necessarily) small. Every time the atomizer heats up, a small amount of oxidization occurs, causing a slight increase in resistance. This process repeats every time the atomizer is used. Over time the resistance increases until one of the wires finally get so thin, and so hot, that it breaks. By using a common voltmeter, you can measure the resistance of your atomizers over time.

Afterword


You'll sometimes find articles on the web that describe a "micro pump" that pumps the fluid onto the coil. This is complete nonsense. As you can see in the dissection above, there is no "micro pump". I believe this misconception comes from a patent filed with the European Patent Office that describes this "micro pump". I suspect this was added to confuse competitors and copycats, or it's a design that has yet to be built. In either case, I have yet to see a commercially available atomizer that has this feature.



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