Nicotine Vapour Exposure Chamber for Rats

An open source chamber system for rodents to experience regulated nicotine vapor exposure from a JUUL electronic cigarette

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The "vaping" fad has taken over adolescents in North America as of late. This project will give us insights into the long term effects of JUUL e-cigarette and nicotine pod use on the brain in young adults. The goal is to periodically expose rodents to the nicotine vapor to imitate adolescent vape use. After waiting for rodents to mature, tests will be performed to see what neurobiological effects it has on them.

An Arduino Uno is programmed to control two small vacuum motors. Along with an H-bridge motor controller, the Arduino tells the motors to draw the JUUL vapor out of the e-cigarette and push it into the chamber at specific times.

The Arduino can be programmed to deliver vapor at different intervals to each chamber. The vacuum suction from the motors enables the JUUL to release vapor. This vapor is carried through plastic tubing into the chambers. There is an adjustable voltage meter if a different delivery speed is required.


Electrical layout for the system

Adobe Portable Document Format - 103.92 kB - 08/27/2019 at 20:02



Text version of Arduino code

Adobe Portable Document Format - 40.97 kB - 08/23/2019 at 21:21



The nozzle you need to 3D print

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 363.27 kB - 08/23/2019 at 18:01



Labelled Diagram of Assembly

Portable Network Graphics (PNG) - 508.67 kB - 07/22/2019 at 17:30



3D Object File of Device

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 8.63 MB - 07/22/2019 at 16:37


View all 7 files

  • 1 × Arduino Uno A programmable micro-controller board
  • 1 × Breadboard Electronic Components / Misc. Electronic Components
  • 1 × Heat Shrink Set Different sizes of shrinkable plastic tubing
  • 1 × Adjustable Voltage Supply For this project an adjustable supply from 3-12v was used
  • 1 × H-Bridge Circuit component allowing for control of two motors

View all 12 components

  • 1
    Install Arduino IDE

    On the Arduino website you can download the software. If you don't have space on your device consider creating an account and using the Arduino Online Web Editor here. Either of these options will work fine. This will allow you to communicate with the Arduino to control the motors on the device.

  • 2
    Download "Nozzle" file to 3D print

    In the files section you will find an STL file named Part11-Nozzle. Two of these need to be 3D printed to connect the plastic tubing to the chambers. Press here to download the file. Print two of this part as per the components list.

  • 3
    Attach H-Bridge
    The H-bridge sends all the commands from the Arduino to the motors. It has 16 different terminals. Place the H-bridge in the middle of the breadboard so it "bridges" the two halves of the breadboard together. The half-circle cutout should face the top (not required, but makes it easier to remember which terminals are where!).

View all 15 instructions

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abbymihalkovic wrote 01/10/2020 at 00:46 point

Hi, could you please tell me more information about the vacuum pumps used for this? Specifically, the type of pumps and where you ordered them from? Thank you!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jake Underhill wrote 03/10/2020 at 15:36 point

The vacuum pumps are simple 12V DC motors with a small fan system on the back, pulling air in one port and pushing it out of the other port. It moves 10 LPM I believe. It was purchased on Amazon but is no longer available. However, this model is very similar. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

The8BitPimp wrote 06/27/2019 at 17:04 point

What is "the vehicle"?

Interesting project but does raise some ethical questions....

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jake Underhill wrote 07/02/2019 at 14:17 point

Thanks for the comment. The vehicle is 1 part propylene glycol to two parts vegetable glycerin. This closely models the JUUL pod liquid (minus the nicotine).

  Are you sure? yes | no

Tom Nardi wrote 06/26/2019 at 20:49 point

When I was in school, I remember some experiment where they had plastic "lungs" filled with cotton balls, and with a hand vacuum pump they'd run the smoke from a lit cigarette through them so you could see all the crap they picked up even in a short session.

At first glance I thought you were doing something similar, but it seems like you're looking to poison rodents instead? It seems like it would take a lot of exposure to the vapor before you'd be able to observe some kind of physical/cognitive response.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jake Underhill wrote 06/27/2019 at 13:46 point

Thank you for the comment! Our first experiment will be testing condition place preference actually. With a small, regulated amount of exposure we try to associate nicotine with one side of a dual chamber cage, while associating the vehicle with the opposite side. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

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