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Thread: filtering smoke

  1. #1 filtering smoke 
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    I was discussing some filtration methods with my science teacher today and he usually gives the class some daily question, but today i got my own, and he will never tell us the answer till we are right or incredibly close.

    so the question is, what is the best liquid to pass a smoke (what i assumed is ciggaret smoke, and lets just assume that for all intents and purposes) so that the most carcinigons and bad substances are removed? The liquid obviously cant be harmful to people..


    also this question got me thinking, what if a filter of some sort was used with the liquid filter? what kind of filter would work well there but allow the nicotine through?


    NOTE: im not using this to get any bonus points im jsut a nerd haha..

    THANKS!


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  3. #2  
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    This is really a simple enough question in principle. Basically you would want a solution to match the qualities, if known, of the material to be filtered.

    A filter is simply a substance that will trap unwanted material while allowing wanted material to pass through. This is simple enough to understand. So you want things that have high affinity towards the substances that you don't want to pass through while also having low affinity for the things you do want to pass through. At least for the purpose of your question, as you indicated allowing nicotine to pass through. So you pass your smoke through water (a polar molecule) and you'll have a high affinity for polar molecules (simple rule of chemistry: like dissolves like). Likewise if you passed it through a nonpolar liquid such as oil you would have a high affinity for nonpolar molecules.

    Realistically you are better doing it in reverse: Choose a material for which there is a high affinity for nicotine and a low affinity for everything else. Then you pass the smoke through one time, then you follow that with an agent with higher affinity for the material in the filter which will realease the nicotine and trap that substance. Really this is a biochemical method for concentrating/isolating a single molecule type, but you could use this to isolate nicotine, then breath simply that substance. This is basically what is done with smokeless cigarettes that people trying to stop smoking use.


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