4 February 2020

Storing and handling pure nicotine and nicotine salts

Pure nicotine and nicotine salts are raw materials that require special treatment and a properly prepared production facility. Taking into account pure nicotine’s and nicotine salts’ unusual properties, its’ high sensitivity and the fact that they are dangerous substances, the highest precautionary measures should always be taken.

In this article, you can learn about:

  1. Usage and basic features of pure nicotine
  2. Storing and handling of pure nicotine
  3. Storing and handling of nicotine salts
  4. Equipment and facility requirements

pure niotine handling

1. Usage and basic features of pure nicotine

Let’s take a closer look at the most important ingredient in e-liquids manufacturing – pure nicotine. Concentrated, almost 100% pure nicotine is a raw material intended for the production of alternative forms of nicotine delivery such as nicotine gums, nicotine patches, and snus. It is also used in the e-cigarette industry. Nicotine acts on the body as psychoactive substance – activating specific receptors in the brain, stimulating or calming the nervous system. It is an easily accessible booster which, on the one hand, relaxes, relieves stress improves mental processes and, on the other, is a highly addictive substance.

Pure nicotine is a neurotoxin which means that in high doses it impairs the functioning of the nervous system of living organisms and leads to death. For this reason, nicotine is often a component of toxic insecticides used in agriculture. It occurs naturally in tobacco leaves, it is used for cigarettes and other smoking and vaping products.

Pure nicotine handling requires special care as it is a highly toxic substance

Any manufacturer using pure nicotine should bear in mind that it is a highly toxic substance which fumes can poison dozens of people in its vicinity. Moreover, pure nicotine is perfectly absorbed through the skin, so any skin contact with this substance can lead to poisoning. A 500 ml or 1000 ml container, in which pure nicotine is most often offered, contains enough substance to kill even several hundred people nearby. For this reason, it is important to maintain extreme caution while handling this product.

2. Storing and handling pure nicotine

Pure nicotine is a raw material that needs more specific treatment than the others. This is not only because of the fact that it can pose a threat to human life and health. It is one of the most sensitive raw materials used for e-liquids manufacturing because of its very quick oxidation process. Oxidation of pure nicotine may result in its darkening. It is a very fragile material which easily loses its physical properties.

freebase nicotine bottle

Stage one – storing pure nicotine before opening the bottle

Chemnovatic pure nicotine PureNic 99+ is poured into bottles under anaerobic conditions which ensure longer shelf life. The best way to store pure nicotine is to keep it in a refrigerator in the temperature from 0 to 10°C in not opened and factory sealed bottles. They are filled with nitrogen to ensure no oxygen is left inside.

Stage two – handling pure nicotine after opening the bottle

After opening and using a part of nicotine, we recommend to inject inert gas (nitrogen or argon) to the bottle and close it. When pure nicotine contacts with air it could cause its oxidation and losing physical properties, e.g. change of colour – darkening. Highly oxidized pure nicotine is not recommended to be used in any e-cigarette products. There is no difference whether you use argon or nitrogen – both gases are equally fine. However, you must remember that the gas must be of purity higher than 99.99%. How to insert the gas exactly? Let nitrogen or argon from a gas bottle via a tube into the original nicotine container and then put the cap on. Argon or nitrogen will push the air out of the bottle and specially formed threads in the Chemnovatic cap, as well as a special gasket, will provide tight enough closure to keep the gas inside.
After opening the bottle it should also be stored in the temperature from 0 to 10°C. The recommended time for nicotine usage after opening the bottle is 14 days.

3. Storing and handling of nicotine salts

Nicotine salts are obtained by adding different acids to freebase (pure) nicotine. From the chemical perspective, nicotine salts are another form of nicotine that can be mixed with traditional PG/VG to obtain e-liquid base.

Depending on the acid that was added to the freebase nicotine – nic salts have different vaping characteristics, but all of them share similar advantages.

The key to nicotine salts popularity in the vaping industry is the fact that they have a lower pH level than traditional pure nicotine. Thanks to pH level that is more biocompatible to the human organism, nicotine salts do not provide vapers with the harshness on the throat, so-called “throat hit”.

Nicotine salts, similarly to pure nicotine, are dangerous and sensitive substances. Most often nicotine salts occur in the form of powder or crystals and their colour can be either white, slightly yellowish or slightly brown depending on the type of nicotine salt.

Just like pure nicotine, the recommended storage place for nicotine salts is a dark, dry and cold room – preferably a refrigerator. The recommended temperature for storing nicotine salts is form -25 to +5°C. Unopened packaging of nicotine salts can be stored in such conditions for up to two years, while after opening the packaging, it is recommended to use the raw material in production for 14 days.

Nicotine salts manufacturing guidelines

Customers often ask for guidelines for the production process with the use of nicotine salts. It should be emphasized that the content of pure nicotine in nicotine salts is a little above 50%, depending on the type of salt. The rest is an acid that was used in the production process to lower the pH of the substance. Therefore, in order to obtain the desired strength in e-liquid, it is necessary to use an almost double dose of nicotine salts compared to pure nicotine.

In order to completely dissolve nicotine salt crystals in PG/VG, the mixture must be also slightly heated. To better illustrate the whole process, we have prepared precise step-by-step guidelines with the recipe.

The process of preparing the nicotine salt bases from nicotine salt

  1. Prepare the necessary ingredients (given nicotine salt, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin).
  2. Prepare the vessel (e.g. a glass beaker), tools for heating and stirring the liquid (e.g. a heated magnetic stirrer).
  3. According to the recipe, measure and pour Propylene Glycol and/or Vegetable Glycerin into a previously prepared vessel.
  4. Stir the Propylene Glycol base and/or Vegetable Glycerin while heating to a temperature of about 40-50°C.
  5. After reaching a temperature of about 40°C, slowly pour the measured amount of nicotine salt. Stir to avoid settling it on the bottom of the vessel.
  6. Do not stop stirring until the salt is completely dissolved.
  7. After obtaining a clear solution, the mixing and heating process can be finished.

NOTE: The suggested carrier for nicotine salts is PG as it ensures better and faster dissolution.

The content of nicotine in nicotine salts is slightly above 50% (in benzoate salt around 57%, in malate salt around 55% and in salicylate salt around 54%). It means that to receive the desired nicotine strength in a base, there will be needed a different dose of nicotine salt. The table below shows various nicotine salts’ quantities needed to achieve a given nicotine content.

How much nicotine salt do you need to receive a given nicotine content?

nic salts dilution chart for Salicylate saltsnic salts dilution chart for Malate saltsnic salts dilution chart for Benzoate salts

 

4. Equipment and facility requirements

Workers in direct contact with pure nicotine or nicotine salts should work in an isolated room in special suits to prevent skin contact and respiratory tract. It is important to remember to always wear gloves and protective glasses to prevent any contact with the hazardous material. The room where nicotine work is carried out must be equipped with a special industrial air extractor to ensure adequate ventilation, whereas pure nicotine should be handled under anaerobic conditions, e.g. in a special tent or an anaerobic chamber.

Questions?

If you need advice or would like to ask about our product handling guidelines, please contact our advisors at sales@chemnovatic.com. We will be happy to answer all your questions and allay any doubts.

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