Can a disposable vape be detected in a metal detector? This is one of the most frequently asked questions due to the rise in popularity of vaping in the recent past.
The answer to this question is not as straightforward as you may think.
There are many factors that come into play when it comes to detection by metal detectors.
In this post, I will provide an overview and understanding of disposable vapes and metal detectors and answer the question “can a disposable vape be detected in a metal detector?”
Can a Disposable Vape Be Detected in a Metal Detector?
The answer is YES, a disposable vape can be detected by a metal detector in most situations.
However, it’s not always guaranteed.
The detection depends on the amount of metal in a vape and the sensitivity level set on the metal detector.
While metal detectors can detect disposable vapes, it is anything but foolproof.
Disposable vapes often contain small portions of titanium, nickel, chromium, lead, or manganese.
Likewise, the vape battery will almost certainly contain lithium.
However, these metal parts are often tiny, with thick plastic casings around them, making them sometimes undetectable to metal detectors.
So, while it’s possible for a disposable vape to go through a metal detector and remain hidden, that scenario depends on the present metal consistency and a device’s responsiveness.
It’s important to note that you should not try to get a vape through a metal detector if it’s prohibited.
How Do Disposable Vapes Work?
Explanation of Disposable Vape Components
Battery: The battery is a key component of a disposable vape.
It sends a current to the coil, heating it, and allowing the e-liquid to vaporize.
The battery is charged and ready to use when the disposable vape is sold.
E-liquid: The e-liquid, also known as vape juice, is housed inside the tank.
It typically contains a mixture of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavorings, and nicotine (optional).
Coil: The coil is housed inside the tank, which also contains the vape juice or e-liquid.
When you inhale a disposable device, its battery heats the coil, which evaporates the flavored e-liquid stored in the tank to produce tasty vape clouds.
Vapor Production Process
The production of disposable vapes involves a meticulous and intricate process that combines design, engineering, quality control, and manufacturing expertise.
From the selection of high-quality components to the precise assembly and e-liquid filling, every step is carefully executed to ensure a safe and enjoyable vaping experience for consumers.
The assembly process of disposable vapes involves the integration of various components to create a fully functional device.
Assembly begins with the attachment of the battery to the heating element, which is responsible for vaporizing the e-liquid.
Following this, the e-liquid reservoir, which holds the flavored solution, is securely connected.
The mouthpiece, designed for ease of use and comfort, is then added to complete the device.
Once the components are assembled, each disposable vape undergoes a series of tests to ensure proper functionality and performance.
These tests may include checks for battery life, leakage prevention, and the consistency of vapor production.
Materials Used in Disposable Vapes
Disposable vapes are made from plastic and contain an e-juice reserve, usually a small hermetically sealed bottle, an atomizer, and a lithium-ion battery that powers everything along.
They also contain copper wires
How Do Metal Detectors Work?
Basic Principles of Metal Detection
Metal detectors operate on the principles of electromagnetic induction.
They contain one or more inductor coils that are used to interact with metallic elements on the ground.
The metal detector coil generates electromagnetic waves.
These waves produce their own eddy currents in a metal object.
These eddy currents generate their own electromagnetic waves and these waves from the object are registered by the metal detector.
Types of Metal Detectors
There are three most common types of metal detectors you will find in the metal detecting market and community.
They are Very Low Frequency (VLF), Multi-Frequency, and Pulse Induction metal detectors. They are not inherently better than the other as they are different.
Very Low Frequency (VLF): This is the most common type of metal detecting technology in the amateur market.
This type uses two coils: one for the transmitter and one for the receiver.
Multi-Frequency: Multi-frequency detectors came around to get around the inherent design of VLF detectors.
This is the ability to use multiple frequencies simultaneously.
Pulse Induction: Pulse Induction (PI) detectors are another type of metal detector.
Sensitivity is a measure of a metal detector’s ability to detect a specific type and size of metal contaminants.
The better the sensitivity of the metal detector, the smaller the irregularly shaped pieces of metal it can detect.
Metal detectors usually have at least two sensitivity setting levels: high and low.
Detecting Metals in Disposable Vapes
Materials Used in Disposable Vapes
Disposable vapes are made from a combination of plastic and metal components.
The plastic is used for the casing, while the metal components include the battery, coil, and sometimes the mouthpiece.
Metal Components in Disposable Vapes
Battery: The battery in a disposable vape is typically made of lithium.
It’s responsible for sending a current to the coil, which heats up and vaporizes the e-liquid.
Coil: The coil in a disposable vape is often made from materials like kanthal (an alloy of iron, chromium, and aluminum), stainless steel, nickel, or titanium.
It’s housed inside the tank and is responsible for heating the e-liquid to produce vapor.
Can a Disposable Vape Be Detected in a Metal Detector? Sensitivity of Metal Detectors vs. Vape Components
The sensitivity of a metal detector refers to its ability to detect specific types and sizes of metal contaminants.
The better the sensitivity of the metal detector, the smaller the pieces of metal it can detect.
However, because the metal components in a disposable vape are often small and surrounded by thick plastic casings, they may not always be detectable by a metal detector.
Likelihood of Detection
The likelihood of a disposable vape being detected by a metal detector depends on several factors.
These include the amount and type of metal in the vape, the sensitivity level set on the metal detector, and the specific technology used by the metal detector.
While it’s possible for a disposable vape to be detected by a metal detector, it’s not guaranteed.
Factors Affecting Detection of a Disposable Vape
Size and Composition of Metal Components
The size and composition of the metal components in a vape can significantly affect its detectability by a metal detector.
Vape devices may contain metal and will set off a metal detector.
Vaping devices such as disposables come in various shapes, sizes, and materials.
While most vape pens are made of metal, several models are made from plastic, ceramic, and glass.
Needless to say, a metal detector will be set off once it detects metal.
Calibration of Metal Detectors
The calibration of the metal detector can also play a role in whether or not it can detect a vape.
If the metal detector is very sensitive, the vape may set it off.
However, if the metal detector isn’t very sensitive, chances are the vape won’t trigger it.
Environmental factors can also impact the effectiveness of a metal detector.
For example, the presence of other metallic objects in the vicinity can interfere with the detector’s ability to accurately identify specific items.
The sensitivity settings on a metal detector can greatly influence its ability to detect vapes.
Your success comes down to the amount of metal in a vape and the sensitivity level set on the metal detector.
While metal detectors can detect disposable vapes, it is anything but foolproof
Common Metals in Disposable Vapes
The batteries housed inside disposable vaping products are mainly lithium-ion batteries with a battery capacity ranging from 400mAh up to 750mAh.
A disposable vape battery is typically 400mAh – 750mAh, which is the unit of measurement that dictates how much charge they hold.
The battery in the average disposable vape contains little more than a tenth of a gram of lithium metal.
The coil in a disposable vape is often made from materials like kanthal (an alloy of iron, chromium, and aluminum), stainless steel, nickel, or titanium.
In the case of a disposable vape, the coil is usually twisted around a center core made from a heat-resistant material such as silica.
A saturated cotton wick wrapped around the outside of the coil assembly supplies e-liquid to the silica wick, which supplies e-liquid to the coil.
Other Metal Components
Disposable vapes contain copper wires.
Many studies report that the metallic components of the vaping device cause leaching of metals in the vape liquids.
Such metals include chromium, aluminum, lead, nickel, tin, zinc, and copper.
Tips for Traveling with Disposable Vapes
Understanding Airport Security Procedures
Airport security procedures for disposable vapes are governed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States.
According to TSA regulations, vapes are considered electronic devices and must be packed in your carry-on luggage only.
Passengers are prohibited from packing vapes in their checked baggage.
Each lithium-ion battery must not exceed a Watt-hour (Wh) rating of 100 Wh; or for lithium metal batteries, a lithium content of 2 grams.
Check with your airline on any limitations on the number of devices that can be carried for personal use by a passenger.
International Travel Considerations
When traveling internationally, it’s crucial to understand and adhere to the local laws regarding vaping in your destination country.
Many countries have stricter regulations on e-cigarettes, and disposable vapes may be treated differently than in the United States.
Do your research before traveling to avoid any surprises.
Packing and Storage Recommendations
Here are Some Tips on How to Pack and Store your Disposable Vape when Traveling
Pack in Carry-On Luggage: The safest way to bring your disposable vape through airport security is to pack it in your carry-on luggage.
This includes the device itself, any cartridges, and the charger.
Empty the Vape Oil Tank: To avoid any potential leaks or spills, it’s a good idea to empty the vape oil tank before packing your disposable vape.
Keep Vape Easily Accessible: When going through airport security, it’s important to keep your disposable vape easily accessible in your carry-on luggage.
Prepare for Additional Screening: Keep in mind that TSA officers may need to inspect your disposable vape further during the screening process.
Store Properly: Make sure that you store your disposable vape properly to avoid any damage. Avoid high temperatures and direct sunlight, as they can damage your device.
Please keep it in a cool, dark place, and make sure that it is upright so that any liquid doesn’t leak out.
Can a Disposable Vape Be Detected in a Metal Detector? Final Thoughts
Can a Disposable Vape be Detected in a Metal Detector? The answer is YES.
However, it depends on the materials used in the vape.
If the coil or battery in the disposable vape is made of metal, it may trigger the metal detector.
On the other hand, if the cartridge is made of plastic or zirconia ceramic, there is a chance it may not be detected
It is important to note that disposable vapes are relatively small, and the metal parts within them are even smaller. While metal detectors are designed to detect small metal objects, they may miss these tiny components.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Aluminum Foil Block Metal Detectors?
Despite some misconceptions, aluminum foil cannot block metal detectors from detecting metal objects.
Metal detectors can detect aluminum foil.
While Aluminum foil is a non-ferrous metal, it is still conductive and will set off most metal detectors.
This includes both hand-held recreational models and the more significant, industrial walk-through type of metal detector brands.
What Metals in a Vape will Set Off a Metal Detector?
Stainless steel and Nichrome in atomizer coils.
Metal detectors can detect disposable vapes in most situations.
The detection of a vape by a metal detector depends on the amount and type of metal in the vape.
Disposable vapes often contain small amounts of metal, such as stainless steel or lead soldering.
Some cartridges are made of pure plastic or glass, without any metal components, while others may contain small amounts of metal.
However, some cartridges that are made of thicker metals, such as brass or copper, may raise the alarm
Do all Vapes Have Metals in Them?
YES, most vapes, including disposable ones, do contain metal components.
The most common metals used are stainless steel and nickel.
These metal components are typically used in the heating element and circuit boards, and make up a small fraction of the total weight of the device.
Some vapes have been found to contain up to four different metals, with lead being the most common.
However, it’s important to note that not all vapes are the same, and the types and amounts of metals can vary between different brands and models.
Do Vapes Set Off Smoke Detectors?
YES, vaping can set off smoke alarms, but the likelihood of it happening depends on the type of smoke detector being used.
Optical or photoelectric smoke detectors are the most vulnerable to vapor, as the puffs can easily break the beams of infrared light
Ionization-based detectors can also be triggered by vapor, but it is less likely
Heat detectors are unlikely to trigger at all, unless the vapor is blown directly into the alarm at a point-blank distance.
Are Disposable Vapes Magnetic?
NO, most disposable vapes are not magnetic. However, there are some innovative new devices like the Klik Klak disposable vapes that feature magnets.
These magnets allow you to combine two different flavors into one device.
But generally, the majority of disposable vapes do not have magnetic properties
Do Disposable Vapes Have Nickel?
YES, disposable vapes can contain nickel.
According to one study, vapes confiscated from school children contained high levels of lead, nickel, and chromium.
The children using them could be inhaling more than twice the daily safe amount of lead, and nine times the safe amount of nickel.
Another study published in 2018 discovered that metal coils in vapes, which can be made of a range of materials including nickel and chromium, leak into vaping aerosol at harmful amounts.