|MadSci Network: Chemistry|
A complete answer to your question might require more information from you OR someone with more expertise to construct the answer. But I'll make an attempt at it. I presume that when you use the term "cartridge filter system" you mean the usual filter found at the end of a "filter" cigarette. My answer will also require that you have a balance available. I also presume that when you say that you want to measure the amount of nicotine and tar trapped that you are just interested in the total amount of the two and not the individual amounts of these two items. The individual amounts would require more sophisticated techniques and more expertise than I have. So here goes. Ideally one would like to determine the mass of the filter system before any smoke passed through it and then determine the mass after all of the smoke passed through it. The difference between these two would be the amount of material trapped. In this way, you would be determining the amount of all the material trapped which might be more that just the nicotine and tar. Unfortunately one cannot separate the filter from the cigarette to get its mass and then reattach it, so that the smoke from the cigarette can be channeled through it. I suggest that you determine the average mass of an unused filter by cutting the filter off of several unsmoked cigarettes. get the mass of each filter (maybe 10 filters), sum the masses and divide the sum by the number of filters used. Then you would somehow (see below) "smoke" a number of cigarettes (again maybe 10)OF THE SAME BRAND, cut the filters from whatever is left of the smoked cigarettes and weigh these, get the average and subtract the average mass of an unused filter from the average mass of a used filter. Of course, I do not advocate you or anyone else actually smoking the cigarettes. You would need some way of drawing a SLOW stream of air through each cigatette while it is lit. In the laboratory, I would use an aspirator system attached to a water outlet. If you have one available to you AND it is in a well ventilated area, that could be your artificial way of "smoking" the cigarettes. You might be able to rig up something with an OLD vacuum cleaner that had a hose (remember a SLOW stream of air). All of that smoke would probably not be good for a vacuum cleaner that you would want to use again as a vacuum cleaner. If you would want to compare brands, you would have to follow this whole procedure for each brand, since the filters on different brands might have different average masses.
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