16 July 2019
By Jan Verbeeck
Manager Testing Engineering
What does the Aerosol Demo do?
The basic answer to the question above is: our Aerosol Demo illustrates the fundamental difference between the aerosol generated by our Platform 1 and cigarette smoke, on filter pads.
We’ve carried out many experiments that show just how different heating and burning tobacco are – from risk-reduction studies to air quality assessments. But we wanted a way to easily show what these studies have told us about the difference between our Platform 1 aerosol and cigarette smoke. That’s why we created the Aerosol Demo.
It should be noted that the Aerosol Demo is not used for scientific evaluation or research. While it helps better visualize the aerosol of Platform 1 and cigarette smoke, the device hasn’t been certified for laboratory use. For that, we use a similar multi-port linear aerosol generating machine, with validated methods. You may be asking: “Why don’t we use the scientifically qualified machine for demos?” The simple answer is: it’s too big! And requires full laboratory infrastructure to operate. But we will discuss the linear aerosol generating machine in more detail in another blog.
How it works
The device itself is made up of hundreds of components, but thanks to the transparent cover, we can see all the important parts that help demonstrate the differences between our Platform 1 aerosol and cigarette smoke.
- 1) Platform 1 holder: Platform 1, complete with heated tobacco unit, is placed here.
- 2) Cigarette holder: A cigarette is placed here.
- 3) Cigarette hood: This goes over the cigarette to prevent sidestream (second-hand) smoke from being released into the environment.
- 4) Cigarette lighter: This uses an electrically heated element to light the cigarette.
- 5) Ashtray: When the experiment is finished, the lever (5a) is pulled and the cigarette falls into the ashtray below.
- 6) Pumps: These move in parallel to draw ‘puffs’ from Platform 1 and the cigarette.
- 7) Glass cylinder: The Platform 1 aerosol and the cigarette smoke pass through here so you can see the difference between them.
- 8) Filter holster: A laboratory filter pad is inserted here.
- 9) HEPA filter: This filter traps most of the aerosol and smoke molecules after they’ve passed through the laboratory filter pad.
- 10) Charcoal filter: This filter adsorbs chemicals in the aerosol and smoke after they’ve passed through the laboratory filter pad.
- 11) LED temperature gauge: This gives a rough guide of tobacco temperatures inside Platform 1 and the cigarette. Please note that it is not a live reading.
How we made it
The development of the Aerosol Demo began with a conversation between myself and Angelos Kolyris (VP Product Development Programs), asking the question: How can we easily demonstrate the difference between cigarettes and our Platforms to people within our company? We built on that idea, then the scope expanded beyond demonstrating to people in our company. We wanted to give others a visual snapshot of the science behind our technology.
Development started in late 2015 at our research headquarters in Neuchâtel, and our earliest working prototype was finished in early 2016. Our early builds focused on a fixed tabletop layout, but the core design principles and certain key components were already present in the first version.
This project wouldn’t have been possible without key members in- and outside the Testing Engineering team who were integral in getting this project going. People like Fabrice Teseo (Testing Integration Engineer) who led our team’s efforts, and the project’s first sponsor Serge Maeder (Global Head of Product Research), among many others.
Our teams will keep working on further developing the demo to help visualize various underlying differences; with product and technology research, we have been working on the integration of a carbon monoxide detector for sidestream aerosol and smoke. Plus, we’re working on modular components to test our other Platforms.
Where to see one in action
Showing you a video of the Aerosol Demo is a great way to show what’s going on, but our end goal is to let anyone who’s interested see the process with their own eyes – as long as they’re of legal age to buy tobacco. Soon, we expect to have an Aerosol Demo in every consumer store where our Platform 1 products are available, and we encourage you to ask for a demo to see the difference for yourself.