Title:
ARTICLE FOR USE WITH APPARATUS FOR HEATING SMOKABLE MATERIAL
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed is an article for use with apparatus for heating smokable material to volatilise at least one component of the smokable material. The article comprises a cavity for receiving smokable material, and a coil of heating material that is heatable by penetration with a varying magnetic field to heat the cavity. Also disclosed is a system comprising the article and apparatus. The apparatus has an interface for cooperating with the article, and a magnetic field generator. The magnetic field generator comprises a coil for generating a varying magnetic field for penetrating the coil of the article when the interface is cooperating with the article. An impedance of the coil of the magnetic field generator is equal, or substantially equal, to an impedance of the coil of the article.



Inventors:
Blandino, Thomas P. (Cottage Grove, WI, US)
Wilke, Andrew P. (Madison, WI, US)
Application Number:
14/840854
Publication Date:
03/02/2017
Filing Date:
08/31/2015
Assignee:
British American Tobacco (Investments) Limited (London, GB)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A24F47/00; H05B6/36
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Other References:
English translation of CN101390659 8/3/2017
Primary Examiner:
MILLS JR., JOE E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Patterson Thuente Pedersen, P.A. (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
1. An article for use with an apparatus configured to heat smokable material to volatilize at least one component of the smokable material, the article comprising: a cavity configured to receive a smokable material; and a coil of heater material that is heatable via penetration with a varying magnetic field and to thereby heat the cavity.

2. The article of claim 1, further comprising a closed circuit of heater material that is heatable via penetration with a varying magnetic field, wherein the closed circuit includes the coil of heater material.

3. The article of claim 1, wherein the coil is disposed in the cavity.

4. The article of claim 1, wherein the cavity is elongate, and wherein the coil extends along a longitudinal axis that is substantially aligned with a longitudinal axis of the cavity.

5. The article of claim 1, wherein the heater material comprises one or more materials selected from the group consisting of: an electrically-conductive material, a magnetic material, and a non-magnetic material.

6. The article of claim 1, wherein the heater material comprises a metal or a metal alloy.

7. The article of claim 1, wherein the heater material comprises one or more materials selected from the group consisting of: aluminium, gold, iron, nickel, cobalt, conductive carbon, graphite, plain-carbon steel, stainless steel, ferritic stainless steel, copper, and bronze.

8. The article of claim 1, wherein the heater material is susceptible to eddy currents induced in the heater material when penetrated by a varying magnetic field.

9. The article of claim 1, wherein a first portion of the coil is more susceptible to eddy currents induced therein by penetration with a varying magnetic field than a second portion of the coil.

10. The article of claim 1, further comprising a container that defines the cavity, wherein the container is free of material that is heatable by penetration with a varying magnetic field.

11. The article of claim 10, wherein at least a portion of the container is transparent or translucent.

12. The article of claim 1, further comprising the smokable material received in the cavity.

13. The article of claim 12, wherein the heater material is in contact with the smokable material.

14. The article of claim 12, wherein the smokable material includes tobacco and/or one or more humectants.

15. The article of claim 1, further comprising a mouthpiece that defines a passageway that is in fluid communication with the cavity.

16. The article of claim 1, further comprising: a passageway defined therein and configured to fluidly connect the cavity with an exterior of the article; and an actuator operable to vary a cross sectional area of the passageway.

17. The article of claim 1, wherein the cavity is sealed from an exterior of the article.

18. The article of claim 1, further comprising an air-permeable membrane configured to admit air into the cavity from an exterior of the article during use.

19. The article of claim 18, further comprising a seal disposed between the air-permeable membrane and the exterior of the article, wherein the seal seals the air-permeable membrane from the exterior of the article, and the seal is breakable or removable from the article so as to place the air-permeable membrane in fluid communication with the exterior of the article during use.

20. A system, comprising: an article including a cavity configured to receive smokable material, and a coil of heater material that is heatable by penetration with a varying magnetic field to heat the cavity; and an apparatus having an interface configured to cooperate with the article, and a magnetic field generator having a coil configured to generate a varying magnetic field that penetrates the coil of the article when the interface is cooperating with the article; wherein an impedance of the coil of the magnetic field generator is equal, or substantially equal, to an impedance of the coil of the article.

21. The system of claim 20, wherein the interface defines a recess configured to receive at least a portion of the article.

22. The system of claim 21, wherein the recess is elongate, and wherein the coil of the magnetic field generator extends along a longitudinal axis that is substantially aligned with a longitudinal axis of the recess.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to articles for use with apparatus for heating smokable material to volatilise at least one component of the smokable material, and to systems comprising such an article and such apparatus.

BACKGROUND

Smoking articles such as cigarettes, cigars and the like burn tobacco during use to create tobacco smoke. Attempts have been made to provide alternatives to these articles by creating products that release compounds without combusting. Examples of such products are so-called “heat not burn” products or tobacco heating devices or products, which release compounds by heating, but not burning, material. The material may be, for example, tobacco or other non-tobacco products, which may or may not contain nicotine.

SUMMARY

A first aspect of the present invention provides an article for use with apparatus for heating smokable material to volatilise at least one component of the smokable material, the article comprising:

a cavity configured to receive smokable material; and

a coil of heater or heating material that is heatable by penetration with a varying magnetic field to thereby heat the cavity.

In an exemplary embodiment, the article comprises a closed circuit of heating material that is heatable by penetration with a varying magnetic field, wherein the closed circuit comprises the coil.

In an exemplary embodiment, the coil is located in the cavity.

In an exemplary embodiment, the cavity is elongate, and the coil extends along a longitudinal axis that is substantially aligned with a longitudinal axis of the cavity.

In an exemplary embodiment, the heating material comprises one or more materials selected from the group consisting of: an electrically-conductive material, a magnetic material, and a non-magnetic material.

In respective exemplary embodiments, the heating material comprises a metal or a metal alloy.

In an exemplary embodiment, the heating material comprises one or more materials selected from the group consisting of: aluminium, gold, iron, nickel, cobalt, conductive carbon, graphite, plain-carbon steel, stainless steel, ferritic stainless steel, copper, and bronze.

In an exemplary embodiment, the heating material is susceptible to eddy currents being induced in the heating material when penetrated by a varying magnetic field.

In an exemplary embodiment, a first portion of the coil is more susceptible to eddy currents being induced therein by penetration with a varying magnetic field than a second portion of the coil.

In an exemplary embodiment, the article comprises a container defining the cavity.

In an exemplary embodiment, the container is free of material that is heatable by penetration with a varying magnetic field.

In an exemplary embodiment, at least a portion of the container is transparent or translucent.

In an exemplary embodiment, the container is made of glass or a plastics material.

In an exemplary embodiment, the coil is in a fixed position relative to the cavity.

In an exemplary embodiment, the coil is removable from the article.

In an exemplary embodiment, the article comprises the smokable material in the cavity.

In an exemplary embodiment, the heating material is in contact with the smokable material.

In an exemplary embodiment, the smokable material comprises tobacco and/or one or more humectants.

In an exemplary embodiment, the article comprises a mouthpiece defining a passageway that is in fluid communication with the cavity.

In an exemplary embodiment, the article comprises a passageway for fluidly connecting the cavity with an exterior of the article, and an actuator operable to vary a cross sectional area of the passageway.

In an exemplary embodiment, the cavity is sealed from an exterior of the article.

In an exemplary embodiment, the article comprises an air-permeable membrane for admitting air into the cavity from an exterior of the article.

In an exemplary embodiment, the article comprises a seal between the air-permeable membrane and the exterior of the article, wherein the seal seals the air-permeable membrane from the exterior of the article, and wherein the seal is breakable or removable from the article to place the air-permeable membrane in fluid communication with the exterior of the article during use.

In an exemplary embodiment, the article comprises a vapour permeable membrane for permitting vapour generated in the cavity to pass to an exterior of the article during use.

In an exemplary embodiment, the article comprises a seal between the vapour permeable membrane and the exterior of the article, wherein the seal seals the vapour permeable membrane from the exterior of the article, and wherein the seal is breakable or removable from the article to place the vapour permeable membrane in fluid communication with the exterior of the article during use.

In an exemplary embodiment, the article comprises a mass of thermal insulation around the cavity. The thermal insulation may comprise one or more materials selected from the group consisting of: aerogel, vacuum insulation, wadding, fleece, non-woven material, non-woven fleece, woven material, knitted material, nylon, foam, polystyrene, polyester, polyester filament, polypropylene, a blend of polyester and polypropylene, cellulose acetate, paper or card, and corrugated material such as corrugated paper or card.

In an exemplary embodiment, the article comprises a coating on the coil that is smoother or harder than a surface of the coil.

In an exemplary embodiment, the article comprises a catalytic material on at least a portion of the coil.

In an exemplary embodiment, the article comprises a temperature detector for detecting a temperature of the cartridge. In some embodiments, the article comprises one or more terminals connected to the temperature detector for making connection with a temperature monitor of the apparatus in use.

In an exemplary embodiment, the coil of the article is a first coil, and the article comprises a second coil of heating material that is heatable by penetration with a varying magnetic field to heat the cavity.

A second aspect of the present invention provides a system, comprising:

an article according to the first aspect of the present invention; and

apparatus having an interface for cooperating with the article, and a magnetic field generator comprising a coil for generating a varying magnetic field for penetrating the coil of the article when the interface is cooperating with the article;

wherein an impedance of the coil of the magnetic field generator is equal, or substantially equal, to an impedance of the coil of the article.

In an exemplary embodiment, the interface comprises a recess for receiving at least a portion of the article.

In an exemplary embodiment, the recess is elongate, and the coil of the magnetic field generator extends along a longitudinal axis that is substantially aligned with a longitudinal axis of the recess.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 shows a schematic perspective view of an example of an article for use with apparatus for heating smokable material to volatilise at least one component of the smokable material;

FIG. 2 shows a schematic cross-sectional view of the article of FIG. 1 with smokable material in the cavity and an end closure attached;

FIG. 3 shows a schematic partial cross-sectional view of an example of another article for use with apparatus for heating smokable material to volatilise at least one component of the smokable material;

FIG. 4 shows a schematic partial cross-sectional view of an example of another article for use with apparatus for heating smokable material to volatilise at least one component of the smokable material; and

FIG. 5 shows a schematic cross-sectional view of an example of a system comprising the article of FIG. 2 and an apparatus for heating smokable material to volatilise at least one component of the smokable material.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As used herein, the term “smokable material” includes materials that provide volatilised components upon heating, typically in the form of vapour or an aerosol. “Smokable material” may be a non-tobacco-containing material or a tobacco-containing material. “Smokable material” may, for example, include one or more of tobacco per se, tobacco derivatives, expanded tobacco, reconstituted tobacco, tobacco extract, homogenised tobacco or tobacco substitutes. The smokable material can be in the form of ground tobacco, cut rag tobacco, extruded tobacco, liquid, gel, gelled sheet, powder, or agglomerates. “Smokable material” also may include other, non-tobacco, products, which, depending on the product, may or may not contain nicotine. “Smokable material” may comprise one or more humectants, such as glycerol or propylene glycol.

As used herein, the terms “heater material” and “heating material” refers to material that is heatable by penetration with a varying magnetic field.

As used herein, the terms “flavour” and “flavourant” refer to materials which, where local regulations permit, may be used to create a desired taste or aroma in a product for adult consumers. They may include extracts (e.g., liquorice, hydrangea, Japanese white bark magnolia leaf, chamomile, fenugreek, clove, menthol, Japanese mint, aniseed, cinnamon, herb, wintergreen, cherry, berry, peach, apple, Drambuie, bourbon, scotch, whiskey, spearmint, peppermint, lavender, cardamom, celery, cascarilla, nutmeg, sandalwood, bergamot, geranium, honey essence, rose oil, vanilla, lemon oil, orange oil, cassia, caraway, cognac, jasmine, ylang-ylang, sage, fennel, piment, ginger, anise, coriander, coffee, or a mint oil from any species of the genus Mentha), flavour enhancers, bitterness receptor site blockers, sensorial receptor site activators or stimulators, sugars and/or sugar substitutes (e.g., sucralose, acesulfame potassium, aspartame, saccharine, cyclamates, lactose, sucrose, glucose, fructose, sorbitol, or mannitol), and other additives such as charcoal, chlorophyll, minerals, botanicals, or breath freshening agents. They may be imitation, synthetic or natural ingredients or blends thereof. They may be in any suitable form, for example, oil, liquid, gel, powder, or the like.

Induction heating is a process in which an electrically-conductive object is heated by penetrating the object with a varying magnetic field. The process is described by Faraday's law of induction and Ohm's law. An induction heater may comprise an electromagnet and a device for passing a varying electrical current, such as an alternating current, through the electromagnet. When the electromagnet and the object to be heated are suitably relatively positioned so that the resultant varying magnetic field produced by the electromagnet penetrates the object, one or more eddy currents are generated inside the object. The object has a resistance to the flow of electrical currents. Therefore, when such eddy currents are generated in the object, their flow against the electrical resistance of the object causes the object to be heated. This process is called Joule, ohmic, or resistive heating. An object that is capable of being inductively heated is known as a susceptor.

It has been found that, when the susceptor is in the form of a closed circuit, magnetic coupling between the susceptor and the electromagnet in use is enhanced, which results in greater or improved Joule heating.

Magnetic hysteresis heating is a process in which an object made of magnetic material is heated by penetrating the object with a varying magnetic field. A magnetic material can be considered to comprise many atomic-scale magnets, or magnetic dipoles. When a magnetic field penetrates such material, the magnetic dipoles align with the magnetic field. Therefore, when a varying magnetic field, such as an alternating magnetic field, for example as produced by an electromagnet, penetrates the magnetic material, the orientation of the magnetic dipoles changes with the varying applied magnetic field. Such magnetic dipole reorientation causes heat to be generated in the magnetic material.

When an object is both electrically-conductive and magnetic, penetrating the object with a varying magnetic field can cause both Joule heating and magnetic hysteresis heating in the object. Moreover, the use of magnetic material can strengthen the magnetic field, which can intensify the Joule heating.

In each of the above processes, as heat is generated inside the object itself, rather than by an external heat source by heat conduction, a rapid temperature rise in the object and more uniform heat distribution can be achieved, particularly through selection of suitable object material and geometry, and suitable varying magnetic field magnitude and orientation relative to the object. Moreover, as induction heating and magnetic hysteresis heating do not require a physical connection to be provided between the source of the varying magnetic field and the object, material deposits on the object such as smokable material residue may be less of an issue, design freedom and control over the heating profile may be greater, and cost may be lower.

Referring to FIG. 1 there is shown a schematic perspective view of an example of an article according to an embodiment of the invention. The article 1 comprises a container 10 defining a cavity 18 for receiving smokable material 30, and a coil 22 of heating material that is heatable by penetration with a varying magnetic field to heat the cavity 18. That is, the heating material is heatable by penetrating the heating material with a varying magnetic field, and the coil 22 is arranged relative to the cavity 18 so that, when the heating material is penetrated with the varying magnetic field, the heating material heats up and transfers heat energy to the cavity 18 to heat the cavity 18. The article 1 is for use with apparatus for heating smokable material to volatilise at least one component of the smokable material. An example of such apparatus is described below.

In this embodiment, the container 10 comprises a body 12 and an end member 14. In this embodiments, the body 12 is tubular and encircles the cavity 18. In this embodiment, the body 12 is elongate and cylindrical with a substantially circular cross section. However, in other embodiments, the body 12 may have a cross section other than circular and/or not be elongate and/or not be cylindrical. The end member 14 closes a first open end or opening of the tubular body 12. In this embodiment, the end member 14 comprises a plug that is held to the first open end of the tubular body 12, such as by friction or an adhesive. However, in other embodiments the end member 14 may take a different form or be integral with the body 12.

In this embodiment, the article 1 comprises a closed circuit 20 of heating material that is heatable by penetration with a varying magnetic field. Moreover, in this embodiment, the closed circuit 20 comprises the coil 22 and a member 24 of heating material that connects opposite ends of the coil 22 to each other. In other embodiments, the member 24 may be omitted, so that the opposite ends of the coil 22 are connected to each other by only the coil 22 itself In some embodiments, this can result in magnetic coupling between the coil 22 and the electromagnet in use being enhanced, which results in greater or improved Joule heating.

In this embodiment, the coil 22 is a circular helix. That is, the coil 22 has a substantially constant radius along its length. In other embodiments, the radius of the coil 22 may vary along its length. For example, in some embodiments, the coil 22 may comprise a conic helix or an elliptical helix. In this embodiment, the coil 22 has a substantially constant pitch along its length. That is, a width measured parallel to the longitudinal axis of the coil 22 of a gap between any two adjacent turns of the coil 22 is substantially the same as a width of a gap between any other two adjacent turns of the coil 22. In other embodiments, this may not be true.

In this embodiment, the coil 22 is in a fixed position relative to the cavity 18. In this embodiment, this is effected by the closed circuit 20 being affixed to the end member 14. In some embodiments, the coil 22 may be removable from the article 1, such as for cleaning. Such removability may be provided by way of the coil 22 being detachable from the end member 14, or by way of the combination of the end member 14 and the coil 22 being detachable from the body 12 of the container 10, for example.

In this embodiment, the coil 22 is located in the cavity 18. Therefore, in use, when smokable material 30 is located in the cavity 18, turns of the coil 22 may be surrounded, or substantially surrounded, by the smokable material 30 for effective transfer of heat from the coil 22 to the smokable material 30. That is, the coil 22 may be embedded within the smokable material 30 in use. The coil 22 creates a tortuous flow path through the cavity 18, which may create turbulence in air passing through the cavity 18 so as to help the air to pick up volatilised material created when the smokable material 30 is heated. The coil 22 also has a large surface area per unit longitudinal length, which can result in greater or improved Joule heating of the heating material, and thus greater or improved heating of the smokable material 30. In other embodiments, the coil 22 may be located other than in the cavity 18. For example, the coil 22 may be located within the material of the container 10 itself, in which case the coil 22 would encircle the cavity 18.

In this embodiment, the cavity 18 is elongate, and the coil 22 extends along a longitudinal axis that is substantially aligned with a longitudinal axis A-A of the cavity 18. This can help to provide more uniform heating of the smokable material 30 in use, and can also aid manufacturing of the article 1. In this embodiment, the aligned axes are coincident. In a variation to this embodiment, the aligned axes may be parallel to each other. However, in other embodiments, the axes may be oblique to each other. In some embodiments, the coil 22 may extend to one or both opposite longitudinal ends of the cavity 18. This can help to provide more widespread or yet more uniform heating of the smokable material 30 in use.

The heating material may comprise one or more materials selected from the group consisting of: an electrically-conductive material, a magnetic material, and a non-magnetic material. The heating material may comprise a metal or a metal alloy.

The heating material may comprise one or more materials selected from the group consisting of: aluminium, gold, iron, nickel, cobalt, conductive carbon, graphite, plain-carbon steel, stainless steel, ferritic stainless steel, copper, and bronze. Other material(s) may be used in other embodiments. In this embodiment, the heating material of the coil 22 comprises electrically-conductive material. Thus, the heating material is susceptible to eddy currents being induced in the heating material when penetrated by a varying magnetic field. Therefore, the coil 22 is able to act as a susceptor when subjected to the varying magnetic field. It has been found that, when magnetic electrically-conductive material is used as the heating material, magnetic coupling between the coil 22 and coil of the apparatus in use may be enhanced. In addition to potentially enabling magnetic hysteresis heating, this can result in greater or improved Joule heating of the coil 22, and thus greater or improved heating of the smokable material 30.

In some embodiments, the container 10 may be free of material that is heatable by penetration with a varying magnetic field. The container 10 may be made from non-magnetic and non-electrically-conductive material. Such an arrangement can avoid energy of the varying magnetic field being absorbed by the container 10, so that more energy of the varying magnetic field is available to heat the coil 22. In this embodiment, the container 10 is made of glass. In other embodiments, the container 10 may be made of a different material, such as a plastics material. In some embodiments, at least a portion of the container 10 may be transparent or translucent, so as to enable a user to see the contents of the cavity 18. In this embodiment, the body 12 of the container 10 is transparent while the end member 14 is opaque. In other embodiments, the body 12 may be translucent or opaque, for example.

In this embodiment, a first portion 22a of the coil 22 is more susceptible to eddy currents being induced therein by penetration with a varying magnetic field than a second portion 22b of the coil 22. The first portion 22a of the coil 22 may be more susceptible as a result of the first portion 22a of the coil 22 being made of a first material, the second portion 22b of the coil 22 being made of a different second material, and the first material being of a higher susceptibility to eddy currents being induced therein than the second material. For example, one of the first and second portions 22a, 22b may be made of iron, and the other of the first and second portions 22a, 22b may be made of graphite. Alternatively or additionally, the first portion 22a of the coil 22 may be more susceptible as a result of the turns of the first portion 22 of the coil 22 having a different thickness and/or material density to the turns of the second portion 22b of the coil 22.

The higher susceptibility portion 22a may be located closer to an intended mouth end of the article 1, or the lower susceptibility portion 22b may be located closer to the intended mouth end of the article 1. In the latter scenario, the lower susceptibility portion 22b may heat the smokable material 30 to a lesser degree than the higher susceptibility portion 22a, and thus the lesser heated smokable material could act as a filter, to reduce the temperature of created vapour or make the vapour created in the article mild during heating of the smokable material 30.

While in FIG. 1 the first and second portions 22a, 22b are located adjacent each other in the longitudinal direction of the article 1 or of the coil 22, in other embodiments this need not be the case. For example, in some embodiments the first and second portions 22a, 22b may be disposed adjacent each other in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal direction of the article 1 or of the coil 22.

Such varying susceptibility of the coil 22 to eddy currents being induced therein can help achieve progressive heating of the smokable material 30, and thereby progressive generation of vapour. For example, the higher susceptibility portion 22a may be able to heat a first region of the smokable material 30 relatively quickly to initialise volatilisation of at least one component of the smokable material 30 and formation of a vapour in the first region of the smokable material 30. The lower susceptibility portion 22b may be able to heat a second region of the smokable material 30 relatively slowly to initialise volatilisation of at least one component of the smokable material 30 and formation of a vapour in the second region of the smokable material 30. Accordingly, a vapour is able to be formed relatively rapidly for inhalation by a user, and vapour can continue to be formed thereafter for subsequent inhalation by the user even after the first region of the smokable material 30 may have ceased generating vapour. The first region of the smokable material 30 may cease generating the vapour when it becomes exhausted of volatilisable components of the smokable material 30.

In other embodiments, all of the coil 22 may be equally, or substantially equally, susceptible to eddy currents being induced therein by penetration with a varying magnetic field. In some embodiments, the coil 22 may not be susceptible to such eddy currents. In such embodiments, the heating material may be a magnetic material that is non-electrically-conductive, and thus may be heatable by the magnetic hysteresis process discussed above.

In some embodiments, the article may comprise a plurality of separate coils 22, wherein each of the coils 22 comprises heating material that is heatable by penetration with a varying magnetic field. At least one of the plurality of coils 22 may be more susceptible to eddy currents being induced therein by penetration with a varying magnetic field than at least one of the other of the plurality of coils 22. This may be effected by the coils 22 being made of different heating materials and/or the turns of the coils 22 having different thicknesses and/or material densities, for example, as discussed above. Again, such varying susceptibility of the coils 22 can help achieve progressive heating of the smokable material 30, and thereby progressive generation of vapour, in a manner corresponding to that described above.

In some embodiments, the article 1 may comprise a catalytic material on at least a portion of the coil 22. The catalytic material may be provided on all of the coil 22, or on only some portion(s) of the coil 22. The catalytic material may take the form of a coating on the coil 22. The provision of such a catalytic material on the coil 22 means that, in use, the article 1 may have a heated, chemically active surface. In use, the catalytic material may act to convert, or increase the rate of conversion of, a potential irritant to something that is less of an irritant. In use, the catalytic material may act to convert, or increase the rate of conversion of, formic acid to methanol, for example. In other embodiments, the catalytic material may act to convert, or increase the rate of conversion of, other chemicals, such as acetylene to ethane by hydrogenation, or ammonia to nitrogen and hydrogen. The catalytic material may additionally or alternatively act to react, or increase the rate of reaction of, carbon monoxide and water vapour to form carbon dioxide and hydrogen (the water-gas shift reaction, or WGSR).

In some embodiments, the article 1 may comprise a coating on the coil 22 that is smoother or harder than a surface of the coil 22 itself. Such a smoother or harder coating may facilitate cleaning of the coil 22 after use of the article 1. The coating could be made of glass or a ceramic material, for example. In other embodiments, the coil 22 may have a rough or non-uniform surface, which can increase the surface area with which the coil 22 contacts the smokable material 30.

In some embodiments, the article 1 may comprise a mass of thermal insulation around the cavity 18. Such a mass may be inside the container 10, outside the container 10, or form the container 10. The thermal insulation may comprise one or more materials selected from the group consisting of: aerogel, vacuum insulation, wadding, fleece, non-woven material, non-woven fleece, woven material, knitted material, nylon, foam, polystyrene, polyester, polyester filament, polypropylene, a blend of polyester and polypropylene, cellulose acetate, paper or card, and corrugated material such as corrugated paper or card. The thermal insulation may additionally or alternatively comprise an air gap. Such thermal insulation can help prevent heat loss to components of the apparatus, and provide more efficient heating of the cavity 18. In some embodiments, the insulation may have a thickness of up to one millimetre, such as up to 0.5 millimetres.

The heating material may have a skin depth, which is an exterior zone within which most of an induced electrical current and/or induced reorientation of magnetic dipoles occurs. By providing that the heating material has a relatively small thickness, a greater proportion of the heating material may be heatable by a given varying magnetic field, as compared to heating material having a depth or thickness that is relatively large as compared to the other dimensions of the heating material. Thus, a more efficient use of material is achieved. In turn, costs are reduced.

Referring to FIG. 2, there is shown a schematic cross-sectional view of the article 1 of FIG. 1 with smokable material 30 in the cavity 18 and an end closure 16 attached to a second open end or opening of the body 10.

In this embodiment, the heating material of the coil 22 is in contact with the smokable material 30. Thus, when the heating material is heated by being penetrated by a varying magnetic field, heat may be transferred directly from the heating material to the smokable material 30. In other embodiments, the heating material may be kept out of contact with the smokable material 30. For example, in some embodiments, the article 1 may comprise a thermally-conductive barrier which spaces the heating material from the smokable material 30. In some embodiments, the thermally-conductive barrier may be a thermally-conductive coating on the coil 22, such as a catalytic coating or a smooth coating as discussed above. The provision of such a thermally-conductive barrier may be advantageous to help to retain heat in the article 1 after heating of the heating material has ceased.

The smokable material 30 could comprise any of the types of smokable materials mentioned herein. The smokable material 30 could be of the form of any of the smokable materials mentioned herein. In some embodiments, the smokable material 30 may comprise a mixture of liquid and powder. The powder could be a suspension in the liquid. The liquid may aid heat retention. The powder may be tobacco powder.

In some embodiments, the end member 14 and the end closure 16 act as respective seals that together seal the cavity 18 from an exterior of the article 1, so as to maintain the freshness of the smokable material 30. In some embodiments, one or both of the end member 14 and the end closure 16 may be openable, puncturable or removable from the article 1 before use, so as to enable air flow through the cavity 18 and thus through the smokable material 30. However, in some embodiments, one or both of the end member 14 and the end closure 16 may comprise an air-permeable membrane or cover for admitting air to pass between the cavity 18 and an exterior of the article 1.

In some embodiments, the article 1 comprises an air-permeable membrane for admitting air into the cavity 18 from an exterior of the article 1, and a seal (such as the end closure 16) between the air-permeable membrane and the exterior of the article 1. The seal seals the air-permeable membrane from the exterior of the article 1 and may be breakable or removable from the article 1 to place the air-permeable membrane, and thus the cavity 18, in fluid communication with the exterior of the article 1. In some embodiments, the article 1 comprises a vapour permeable membrane for permitting vapour generated in the cavity 18 to pass to an exterior of the article 1, and a seal (such as the end member 14) between the vapour permeable membrane and the exterior of the article 1. This seal seals the vapour permeable membrane from the exterior of the article 1 and may be breakable or removable from the article 1 to place the vapour permeable membrane, and thus the cavity 18, in fluid communication with the exterior of the article 1.

In some embodiments, such as some embodiments in which the smokable material comprises a liquid, one or both of the end member 14 and the end closure 16 may comprise a hydrophobic membrane or cover for helping prevent the liquid from escaping from the cavity 18. Indeed, any of the air or vapour permeable membranes discussed herein may comprise a hydrophobic membrane or cover for helping prevent liquid from escaping from the cavity 18.

In some embodiments, the article may comprise a mouthpiece defining a passageway that is in fluid communication with the cavity 18. Referring to FIG. 3, there is shown a schematic partial cross-sectional view of an example of an article 2 according to an embodiment of the invention. The section of the article 2 numbered 50 could comprise either of the constructions shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 or any of the variants thereof discussed above. The mouthpiece 60 and passageway 62 thereof are shown connected to the construction with the passageway 62 aligned so as to be in fluid communication with the cavity 18 of the construction. The mouthpiece 60 may be made of any suitable material, such as a plastics material, cardboard, or rubber.

In use, when the smokable material 30 is heated by the heated heating material, volatilised components of the smokable material 30 can be readily inhaled by a user. In embodiments in which the article is a consumable article, once all or substantially all of the volatilisable component(s) of the smokable material 30 in the article has/have been spent, the user may dispose of the mouthpiece together with the rest of the article. This can be more hygienic than using the same mouthpiece with multiple articles, can help ensure that the mouthpiece is correctly aligned with the smokable material, and presents a user with a clean, fresh mouthpiece each time they wish to use another article.

The mouthpiece 60, when provided, may comprise or be impregnated with a flavourant. The flavourant may be arranged so as to be picked up by heated vapour as the vapour passes through the passageway 62 of the mouthpiece 60 in use.

In some embodiments, the article may comprise a passageway for fluidly connecting the cavity 18 with an exterior of the article 1, 2, and an actuator operable to vary a cross sectional area of the passageway. Referring to FIG. 4, there is shown a schematic partial cross-sectional view of an example of an article 3 according to an embodiment of the invention. The section of the article 3 numbered 50 could comprise any of the constructions shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 or any of the variants thereof discussed above.

In this embodiment, the article 3 comprises an element 70 defining the passageway 72 that fluidly connects the cavity 18 with an exterior of the article 3. The element 70 comprises an actuator 74 that is operable by a user and that is operably connected to a variable constrictor 76. The actuator 74 may comprise, for example, a push-button, a toggle switch, a dial, a touchscreen, or the like. Operation of the actuator 74 by a user causes the variable constrictor 76 to vary a cross sectional area of the passageway 72, so as to change the degree of air flow through the article 3. This can alter the effort required by a user to draw volatilised component(s) of the smokable material 30 from the cavity 18 in use, and can also help a user to retain volatilised component(s) of the smokable material 30 in the cavity 18 between draws.

In some embodiments, the element 70 may be provided at a mouth end, or downstream end, of the cavity 18. In other embodiments, the element 70 may be provided at the end of the cavity 18 opposite to a mouth end of the cavity 18. In some embodiments, the element 70 may be provided at the end of the cavity 18 opposite to an end of the cavity 18 to which a mouthpiece of the article is connected, such as the mouthpiece 60 shown in FIG. 3. In some embodiments, the element 70 may be provided between the cavity 18 and a mouthpiece of the article, such as the mouthpiece 60 shown in FIG. 3. In some embodiments, the element 70 may be combined with a mouthpiece of the article, such as the mouthpiece 60 shown in FIG. 3, so that the passageway of which the cross sectional area is variable is the passageway of the mouthpiece.

Each of the above-described articles 1, 2, 3 and described variants thereof may be used with an apparatus for heating the smokable material 30 to volatilise at least one component of the smokable material 30. The apparatus may be to heat the smokable material 30 to volatilise the at least one component of the smokable material 30 without burning the smokable material 30. Any one of the article(s) 1, 2, 3 and such apparatus may be provided together as a system. The system may take the form of a kit, in which the article 1, 2, 3 is separate from the apparatus. Alternatively, the system may take the form of an assembly, in which the article 1, 2, 3 is combined with the apparatus. An example of such a system will now be described.

Referring to FIG. 5 there is shown a schematic cross-sectional view of an example of a system according to an embodiment of the invention. The system 1000 of this embodiment comprises the article 1 of FIG. 2 and apparatus 100 for heating the smokable material 30 in the article 2 to volatilise at least one component of the smokable material 30. Broadly speaking, the apparatus 100 comprises an interface 111 for cooperating with the article 2, and a magnetic field generator 112 comprising a coil 114 for generating a varying magnetic field for penetrating the coil 22 of the article 2 when the interface 111 is cooperating with the article 2.

The apparatus 100 of this embodiment comprises a body 110 and a mouthpiece 120. The mouthpiece 120 defines a channel 122 therethrough. The mouthpiece 120 is locatable relative to the body 110 so as to cover an opening into the recess 111. When the mouthpiece 120 is so located relative to the body 110, the channel 122 of the mouthpiece 120 is in fluid communication with the recess 111. In use, the channel 122 acts as a passageway for permitting volatilised material to pass from the cavity 18 of the article 2 inserted in the recess 111 to an exterior of the apparatus 100. In this embodiment, the mouthpiece 120 of the apparatus 100 is releasably engageable with the body 110 so as to connect the mouthpiece 120 to the body 110. In other embodiments, the mouthpiece 120 and the body 110 may be permanently connected, such as through a hinge or flexible member. The mouthpiece 120 of the apparatus 100 may comprise or be impregnated with a flavourant. The flavourant may be arranged so as to be picked up by heated vapour as the vapour passes through the channel 122 of the mouthpiece 120 in use. In some embodiments, such as some embodiments in which the article 2 itself comprises a mouthpiece, the mouthpiece 120 of the apparatus 100 may be omitted.

In this embodiment, the body 110 comprises the interface 111. In this embodiment, the interface 111 comprises a recess 111 for receiving at least a portion of the article 2. In other embodiments, the interface 111 may be other than a recess, such as a shelf, a surface, or a projection, and may require mechanical mating with the article 1, 2, 3 in order to co-operate with the article 1, 2, 3. In this embodiment, the recess 111 is elongate, and is sized and shaped to receive the article 2. In this embodiment, the recess 111 accommodates the whole article 2. In other embodiments, the recess 111 may receive only a portion of the article 2.

In this embodiment, the magnetic field generator 112 comprises an electrical power source 113, the coil 114, a device 116 for passing a varying electrical current, such as an alternating current, through the coil 114, a controller 117, and a user interface 118 for user-operation of the controller 117.

In this embodiment, the electrical power source 113 is a rechargeable battery. In other embodiments, the electrical power source 113 may be other than a rechargeable battery, such as a non-rechargeable battery, a capacitor or a connection to a mains electricity supply.

The coil 114 may take any suitable form. In this embodiment, the coil 114 is a helical coil of electrically-conductive material, such as copper. In some embodiments, the magnetic field generator 112 may comprise a magnetically permeable core around which the coil 114 is wound. Such a magnetically permeable core concentrates the magnetic flux produced by the coil 114 in use and makes a more powerful magnetic field. The magnetically permeable core may be made of iron, for example. In some embodiments, the magnetically permeable core may extend only partially along the length of the coil 114, so as to concentrate the magnetic flux only in certain regions.

In this embodiment, the coil 114 of the magnetic field generator 112 extends along a longitudinal axis that is substantially coincident with a longitudinal axis of the recess 111. In other embodiments, these axes may be aligned with each other by being parallel to each other, or may be oblique to each other. In this embodiment, when the article 2 is received in the recess 111, as shown in FIG. 5, the longitudinal axis of the recess 111 is substantially coincident with the longitudinal axis of the cavity 18 of the article 2.

In this embodiment, an impedance of the coil 114 of the magnetic field generator 112 is equal, or substantially equal, to an impedance of the coil 22 of the article 2. If the impedance of the coil 22 of the article 2 were instead lower than the impedance of the coil 114 of the magnetic field generator 112, then the voltage generated across the coil 22 of the article 2 in use may be lower than the voltage that may be generated across the coil 22 of the article 2 when the impedances are matched. Alternatively, if the impedance of the coil 22 of the article 2 were instead higher than the impedance of the coil 114 of the magnetic field generator 112, then the electrical current generated in the coil 22 of the article 2 in use may be lower than the current that may be generated in the coil 22 of the article 2 when the impedances are matched. Matching the impedances may help to balance the voltage and current to maximise the heating power generated at the coil 22 of the article 2 when heated in use.

While the system 1000 of this embodiment comprises the article 2 of FIG. 2, in other embodiments the system may comprise any other one of the articles discussed above. In such other embodiments, the impedance of the coil 114 of the magnetic field generator 112 may be equal, or substantially equal, to an impedance of the coil of the article.

In this embodiment, the device 116 for passing a varying current through the coil 114 is electrically connected between the electrical power source 113 and the coil 114. In this embodiment, the controller 117 also is electrically connected to the electrical power source 113, and is communicatively connected to the device 116 to control the device 116. More specifically, in this embodiment, the controller 117 is for controlling the device 116, so as to control the supply of electrical power from the electrical power source 113 to the coil 114. In this embodiment, the controller 117 comprises an integrated circuit (IC), such as an IC on a printed circuit board (PCB). In other embodiments, the controller 117 may take a different form. In some embodiments, the apparatus may have a single electrical or electronic component comprising the device 116 and the controller 117. The controller 117 is operated in this embodiment by user-operation of the user interface 118. The user interface 118 is located at the exterior of the body 110. The user interface 118 may comprise a push-button, a toggle switch, a dial, a touchscreen, or the like.

In this embodiment, operation of the user interface 118 by a user causes the controller 117 to cause the device 116 to cause an alternating electrical current to pass through the coil 114, so as to cause the coil 114 to generate an alternating magnetic field. When the article 2 is located in the recess 111, the coil 114 of the apparatus 100 and the coil 22 of the article 2 are suitably relatively positioned so that the alternating magnetic field produced by the coil 114 penetrates the heating material of the coil 22 of the article 2. When the heating material of the coil 22 is an electrically-conductive material, this may cause the generation of one or more eddy currents in the heating material. The flow of eddy currents in the heating material against the electrical resistance of the heating material causes the heating material to be heated by Joule heating. As mentioned above, when the heating material is made of a magnetic material, the orientation of magnetic dipoles in the heating material changes with the changing applied magnetic field, which causes heat to be generated in the heating material.

The apparatus 100 of this embodiment comprises a temperature sensor 119 for sensing a temperature of the recess 111. The temperature sensor 119 is communicatively connected to the controller 117, so that the controller 117 is able to monitor the temperature of the recess 111. In some embodiments, the temperature sensor 119 may be arranged to take an optical temperature measurement of the recess, interface or article 1, 2, 3. In some embodiments, the article 1, 2, 3 may comprise a temperature detector, such as a resistance temperature detector (RTD), for detecting a temperature of the article 1, 2, 3. For example, the temperature detector may be located in or on the container 10 of the article 1, 2, 3. The article 1, 2, 3 may further comprise one or more terminals connected, such as electrically-connected, to the temperature detector. The terminal(s) may be for making connection, such as electrical connection, with a temperature monitor of the apparatus 100 when the article 1, 2, 3 is in the recess 111 or cooperating with the interface. The controller 117 may comprise the temperature monitor. The temperature monitor of the apparatus 100 may thus be able to determine a temperature of the article 1, 2, 3 during use of the article 1, 2, 3 with the apparatus 100.

In some embodiments, by providing that the heating material of the coil 22 of the article 2 has a suitable resistance, the response of the heating material to a change in temperature could be sufficient to give information regarding temperature inside the article 2. The temperature sensor 119 of the apparatus 100 may then comprise a probe for analysing the heating material.

On the basis of one or more signals received from the temperature sensor 119 or temperature detector, the controller 117 may cause the device 116 to adjust a characteristic of the varying or alternating electrical current passed through the coil 114 as necessary, in order to ensure that the temperature of the recess 111 remains within a predetermined temperature range. The characteristic may be, for example, amplitude or frequency. Within the predetermined temperature range, in use the smokable material 30 within an article 1, 2, 3 located in the recess 111 is heated sufficiently to volatilise at least one component of the smokable material 30 without combusting the smokable material 30. Accordingly, the controller 117, and the apparatus 100 as a whole, is arranged to heat the smokable material 30 to volatilise the at least one component of the smokable material 30 without combusting the smokable material 30. In some embodiments, the temperature range is about 50° C. to about 250° C., such as between about 50° C. and about 150° C., between about 50° C. and about 120° C., between about 50° C. and about 100° C., between about 50° C. and about 80° C., or between about 60° C. and about 70° C. In some embodiments, the temperature range is between about 170° C. and about 220° C. In other embodiments, the temperature range may be other than this range.

The apparatus 100 may define an air inlet that fluidly connects the recess 111 with the exterior of the apparatus 100. Such an air inlet may be defined by the body 110 of the apparatus 100 and/or by the mouthpiece 120 of the apparatus 100. A user may be able to inhale the volatilised component(s) of the smokable material 30 by drawing the volatilised component(s) through the channel 122 of the mouthpiece 120. As the volatilised component(s) are removed from the cavity 18 of the container 10 of the article 2, air may be drawn into the recess 111 via the air inlet of the apparatus 100. Furthermore, in embodiments in which the end member 14 and/or end closure 16 of the container 10 of the article 2 is/are puncturable, the air may be drawn into the cavity 18 of the container 10 via one or both of the punctured end member 14 and end closure 16. Alternatively, in embodiments in which the article 2 comprises an air-permeable membrane for admitting air into the cavity 18 from the exterior of the article 2, a vapour permeable membrane for permitting vapour generated in the cavity 18 to pass to the exterior of the article 2, and first and second seals between the exterior of the article 2 and the air-permeable membrane and the vapour permeable membrane, respectively, a user may break or remove the first and second seals prior to use of the apparatus 100 and article 2 to enable air to be drawn into the cavity 18 via the air-permeable membrane, and vapour generated in the cavity 18 to pass to the channel 122 of the mouthpiece 120 via the vapour permeable membrane.

The apparatus may provide haptic feedback to a user. The feedback could indicate that heating is taking place, or be triggered by a timer to indicate that greater than a predetermined proportion of the original quantity of volatilisable component(s) of the smokable material 30 in the article 1, 2, 3 has/have been spent, or the like. The haptic feedback could be created by interaction of the coils (i.e. magnetic response), by interaction of an electrically-conductive element with the coil 114 of the apparatus 100, by rotating an unbalanced motor, by repeatedly applying and removing a current across a piezoelectric element, or the like.

The apparatus 100 may comprise more than one coil. The plurality of coils of the apparatus 100 could be operable to provide progressive heating of the smokable material 30 in an article 1, 2, 3, and thereby progressive generation of vapour. For example, one coil may be able to heat a first region of the heating material relatively quickly to initialise volatilisation of at least one component of the smokable material 30 and formation of a vapour in a first region of the smokable material 30. Another coil may be able to heat a second region of the heating material relatively slowly to initialise volatilisation of at least one component of the smokable material 30 and formation of a vapour in a second region of the smokable material 30. Accordingly, a vapour is able to be formed relatively rapidly for inhalation by a user, and vapour can continue to be formed thereafter for subsequent inhalation by the user even after the first region of the smokable material 30 may have ceased generating vapour. The initially-unheated second region of smokable material 30 could act as a filter, to reduce the temperature of created vapour or make the created vapour mild, during heating of the first region of smokable material 30.

In some embodiments, the coil of the article is a first coil, and the article may comprise a second coil of heating material that is heatable by penetration with a varying magnetic field to heat the cavity 18 of the article. The first and second coils of the article may be substantially separately heatable by varying magnetic fields produced by a respective plurality of coils of the apparatus 100. One of the first and second coils may be more susceptible to eddy currents being induced therein by penetration with a varying magnetic field than the other of the first and second coils. Such a structure could be operable to provide progressive heating of the smokable material 30 in the article, and thereby progressive generation of vapour, in a similar way to that described above.

In some embodiments, the heating material of the coil 22 may comprise discontinuities or holes therein. Such discontinuities or holes may act as thermal breaks to control the degree to which different regions of the smokable material are heated in use. Areas of the heating material with discontinuities or holes therein may be heated to a lesser extent that areas without discontinuities or holes. This may help progressive heating of the smokable material, and thus progressive generation of vapour, to be achieved.

In each of the above described embodiments, the smokable material 30 comprises tobacco. However, in respective variations to each of these embodiments, the smokable material 30 may consist of tobacco, may consist substantially entirely of tobacco, may comprise tobacco and smokable material other than tobacco, may comprise smokable material other than tobacco, or may be free of tobacco. In some embodiments, the smokable material 30 may comprise a vapour or aerosol forming agent or a humectant, such as glycerol, propylene glycol, triactein, or diethylene glycol.

An article embodying the present invention may be a cartridge or a capsule, for example.

Each of the above described articles 1, 2, 3 may be used as a consumable article. Once all, or substantially all, of the volatilisable component(s) of the smokable material 30 in the article 1, 2, 3 has/have been spent, the user may remove the article 1, 2, 3 from the apparatus 100 and dispose of the article 1, 2, 3. The user may subsequently re-use the apparatus 100 with another of the articles 1, 2, 3.

However, in other embodiments, the articles 1, 2, 3 may be re-fillable with smokable material 30 and re-usable with the apparatus 100. Such re-filling may be effected by detaching the end closure 16 from the body 12 of the container 10 to access the cavity 18, removing the remains of smokable material used in a previous session, placing a new charge of smokable material in the cavity 18, and then placing an end closure 16 (either the original end closure 16 or a new end closure 16) over the second open end of the body 12 of the container 10. During such re-filling, the coil 22 may be removable, for example for cleaning or for replacement with a fresh coil 22.

Each of the above described articles 1, 2, 3 may be supplied with or without the smokable material 30 in the cavity 18.

In some embodiments, the articles 1, 2, 3 discussed above are sold, supplied or otherwise provided separately from the apparatus 100 with which they are usable. However, in some embodiments, the apparatus and one or more of the articles 1, 2, 3 may be provided together as a system, such as a kit or an assembly, possibly with additional components, such as cleaning utensils.

The invention could be implemented in a system comprising any one of the articles discussed herein, and any one of the apparatuses discussed herein, wherein the apparatus itself further has heating material, such as in a susceptor, for heating by penetration with the varying magnetic field generated by the magnetic field generator.

Heat generated in the heating material of the apparatus itself could be transferred to the article to further heat the smokable material therein.

In order to address various issues and advance the art, the entirety of this disclosure shows by way of illustration and example various embodiments in which the claimed invention may be practised and which provide for superior articles for use with apparatus for heating smokable material to volatilise at least one component of the smokable material, and superior systems comprising the same. The advantages and features of the disclosure are of a representative sample of embodiments only, and are not exhaustive and/or exclusive. They are presented only to assist in understanding and teach the claimed and otherwise disclosed features. It is to be understood that advantages, embodiments, examples, functions, features, structures and/or other aspects of the disclosure are not to be considered limitations on the disclosure as defined by the claims or limitations on equivalents to the claims, and that other embodiments may be utilised and modifications may be made without departing from the scope and/or spirit of the disclosure. Various embodiments may suitably comprise, consist of, or consist in essence of, various combinations of the disclosed elements, components, features, parts, steps, means, etc. The disclosure may include other inventions not presently claimed, but which may be claimed in future.