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Maintain pH of nic salt?

Discussion in 'DIY E-Liquid' started by SkyTheBeerGuy, Jan 8, 2019.

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  1. SkyTheBeerGuy

    SkyTheBeerGuy New Member

    Jan 8, 2019
    I would like to make a no PG nic salt (bad allergy to PG) using distilled water and VG base nic salt. Since nic salt is created by lowering the pH I was wondering if i have to maintain that exact pH after diluting the VG with distilled water. Since distilled water is alkaline would I mess up the nic salt when the pH goes up or does it stay salt once it becomes salt? I cant find the answer to this anywhere online. Any chemists out there that can help? On a side note I am not interested in flavors. With only two ingredients to start (VG nic salt & distilled water) that will keep things simple.
  2. pdib

    pdib Registered Supplier - Offline ECF Veteran

    Nov 23, 2012
    Hi. Welcome to ECF.

    hmmm . . . so, rapid-googling is saying to me that distilled water is just the eensiest bit acidic, if/as the theoretically pH neutral water comes into contact with air (carbon dioxide→ carbonic acid, yada).

    in any case, if you're adding just a small amount of distilled water to loosen up that VG a bit, I wouldn't worry about it.

    I would say that "nic salts" (based on which company is mixing it and what "style" they're shooting for) vary quite a bit in how much acid is added to begin with. So, if you're just slightly altering the pH of your store-bought salts; it's not really going to make any tangible difference.

    I've mixed up a couple of DIY batches, "salted my nic" in the kitchen; and, kin'a seeing first-hand what it's all about, and having read up a bunch before doing so, I'd say a few drops of water (distilled, or otherwise) isn't going to change anything so's you'd notice or care (pH-wise, anyway). I've gotten to where I certainly don't care if the acidity of my home-brew salts varies by a few percentage points.

    . .. . is my personal take on it, my 2¢, my unscientific . . .
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  3. SkyTheBeerGuy

    SkyTheBeerGuy New Member

    Jan 8, 2019
    Thank you, that is reassuring. I bought my VG nic salts through and was planning on diluting it by 10% to start. The DIY thing is new to me so i’m open to suggestions. I bought the DIY starter kit through the same website as well.
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  4. IDJoel

    IDJoel Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 20, 2015
    Boise, ID
    @SkyTheBeerGuy, it is not uncommon, for manufacturers to add water to all-VG nic bases, to thin out the viscosity a bit. So, it may not be necessary to add more. Or, at least, not as much as 10%. I would also suggest, that you keep your test batches small, simply to preserve your inventory. Once you figure out what your preferred blend(s) are; then you can make larger batches with confidence.

    One thing to remember about water; is that it vaporizes at lower temperatures than PG, or VG. Adding too much will cause unwanted spitting and popping (I know this from personal experience :facepalm:). Therefore, starting low, and increasing slowly, is the most prudent way to go. :)

    As for your initial question:
    Nicotine, in salt form, is much more stable; than the freebase form we are used to, in "regular" e-liquids. Nicotine, in nature (in plants), is routinely in salt form(s). It must be chemically extracted, and converted, into freebase form.

    Even if adding water alters the pH a bit; it is not going to "un-salt" nicotine salts. pH is thought to primarily impact throat hit. So, in my opinion, while adding water might make it a bit smoother or rougher (depending on final pH level); it is not going to harm it.
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  5. SkyTheBeerGuy

    SkyTheBeerGuy New Member

    Jan 8, 2019
    Good information thank you! I am using a rubi pod system for convenience at work. I think it’s around 8.5 watts. Is that a good range for preventing spitback? They have also claimed to have fixed that problem with their pod designs. I have purchased many different devices over the years and i have to say this is the first one that i dont have that problem with. Do you think less than 10% dilution will cause clogging? I’ve had pretty good luck with these pods. They are kind of expensive and are only available online (i didnt do enough homework) and from the reviews i’ve seen they recommend 3 refills per pod but i’ve gotten at least 7 refills before i start tasting burnt cotton. If i pull too hard on it that will happen though. It’ll probably be a bunch of trial and error making many 30ml sample batches until i find the formula for me. Thanks for all the good tips guys!
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  6. IDJoel

    IDJoel Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 20, 2015
    Boise, ID
    Honestly, I have no idea. Wattage is only 1 part of the whole picture. Wire gauge, length, wicking, airflow, and airway, also influence performance. And, I am unfamiliar with that device.

    I will say, generally speaking; that e-liquid recipes can often be adjusted to perform better in most devices. Whether it is increasing/decreasing flavor percentages, or adjusting viscosity, there is often something that can be done... even in fixed power/build/airflow devices.
    It is certainly possible. I have seen all sorts of designs, trying to keep e-liquid out of the vaper's mouth. Screens, diverters, indirect airways, and on and on. Some, quite successfully.
    As I said in my previous post: Some vendors already add a bit of water to "100%" VG mixtures, specifically to help thin it out a bit. If I were in your shoes, I would start with a straight mix, without any additional water. and then (only if needed) begin incrementally adding water (maybe in 2% increments?).

    (Note: Because water is neither PG, nor VG, it does not technically effect the PG/VG ratio. A vendor can honestly sell a "100% VG e-liquid," that contains water, and not be lying.)

    I respect, that the cartridges are expensive, and you don't want to needlessly waste them. Again, if it were me, I would use an older pod... one you have already gotten some mileage out of... but is still functioning. It might make a "fatality" a bit easier to accept.

    I also question if a "clog" is a true fatality. Both PG and VG are water soluble. If you start getting dry hits; stop vaping on it, before you scorch the cotton, or burn through the wire. Just remove it from the device, rinse it out thoroughly with tap water, and give it a day to dry. Then you should likely(?) be able to use it again.

    Water won't help with burnt-on coil crud (unless you have the means to dry burn and re-wick it). But, it should be able to help with a moderately gummy wick. :)
    I am assuming you mean the spitting/juice in mouth? Then, yes; taking too hard of a draw, is certainly a good way to have this happen. When one is vaping on a non-adjustable airflow device; one has to adapt their vaping draw to accommodate the device.

    Also, I would expect further thinning the e-liquid (by adding water), would only make the problem worse. Spitback is a problem caused by too much liquid, not too little.

    If you are referring to dry hits; that is more about the wicking, than the draw. wicking brings the liquid into contact/proximity of the coil, which in turn, converts the liquid to vapor. The wick is the primary influence here (and, indeed, thinning the liquid helps wicking). Draw is a secondary influence. It does create a bit of a vacuum, which can accelerate the wicking action... but, only to a degree.

    If you are dependent on strong draws, to get adequate wicking; you either need a thinner liquid, or you are vaping the wrong devise (for your vaping style). :)

    Remember that many pics, like the Juul styled ones (including your Rubi), are designed for very tight MTL draws, and low vapor production. There are others, like the Aspire Spryte, that offer adjustable airflow; which can offer something more akin to a restricted direct lung hit. Choose what fits your style best.
    30mL samples? That is 30 fills of the Rubi's 1mL pod. To figure out what the best viscosity; I would think that even as little as 0.5mL would be plenty to see how it is going to flow.

    I know that mixing ultra small testers can be a pain it the keister; especially when adding low percentage flavors. So, go only large enough to make mixing tolerable. I would probably be considering 2-5mL (tops).

    Of course, all of this, are just my opinions (based on personal experience, and my own research). You, and/or others, may have different ones. Do what works best for you.
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  7. SkyTheBeerGuy

    SkyTheBeerGuy New Member

    Jan 8, 2019
    You guys are awesome thank you so much! I will start with your suggestion of all VG to start then gradually add 2% increments of distilled water until i find that sweet spot using the pods as the test vessel instead of 30 ml containers.

    Since vg is water soluble and thats the only ingredient im working with besides water and nic salt (that i know of), do i still need to shake it up for 20 minutes or steep it? Or is that more related to flavored juice?

    I will report back after a few tests in case someone else out on the vast interwebs is looking for the same solution. The ultimate goal here is to find that perfect replacement for cigs without the severe pain of lactic acidosis from the PG. i’ve been sucessful avoiding cigs so far but since i do a lot of heavy lifting at work, the muscle pain i get in my arms from vaping has to be eliminated.
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  8. IDJoel

    IDJoel Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 20, 2015
    Boise, ID
    If, you are confident it is thoroughly mixed, you should be ready to vape. Aging is only beneficial to some flavors. Your initial testing is without flavoring; so aging will offer no benefit at this time. :)
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