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I had the idea recently about whether or not we could have a sealed bag of some kind which when opened would release a cloud of smoke which had at some point previously been stored there.

It got me thinking about how smoke is formed and about how it dissipates. In my limited understanding of it I imagine that the reason it dissipates is because it has some volume of air, large relative to itself, in which it eventually disperses into small enough particles that it is no longer visible (but detectable).

So, take wood smoke for instance: how might I store this smoke in such a way that I could later release it and it would take on the same appearance as if it were never trapped and then released in the first place?

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closed as off-topic by John Rennie, JMac, tpg2114, Jon Custer, Kyle Kanos Aug 21 '18 at 10:10

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    $\begingroup$ As you point out, smoke is no more than particles of 'something' floating in the air. I would think that the main problem of trying to trap smoke in a bag or box is that those particles would stick to the walls. Plus the particles in wood smoke are heavy, they only float because they have the heat from the fire. $\endgroup$ – user3408085 Aug 20 '18 at 15:30
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    $\begingroup$ It would be a fun and potentially useful project, to look for materials that smoke particles will not stick to. Or, you might look into the possibility of keeping smoke particles electrostatically suspended. $\endgroup$ – S. McGrew Aug 20 '18 at 15:35
  • $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this because it seems to be about engineering. Would this question be appropriate on Engineering SE? $\endgroup$ – user191954 Aug 20 '18 at 16:00
  • $\begingroup$ The smoke is made of small particles. In some volume, like a room, the smoke will diffuse throughout the volume according to the laws of thermodynamics. You essentially are asking for a way to prevent the smoke particles from diffusing. I'm not sure how to do that! Perhaps if you filled a closed volume with a fluid (transparent so we can still see the smoke) that has the same fluidic properties as the smoke (viscosity, etc...) then the smoke would in principle keep its original configuration (also assuming the volume is at rest or only in inertial motion). $\endgroup$ – N. Steinle Aug 20 '18 at 16:55
  • $\begingroup$ You would also have to (somehow) fill the volume without disturbing the smoke, which would cause the particles to move and would destroy the original configuration. Seems like a very difficult thing to do... keeping an aerosol suspended perfectly without disturbing it at all. $\endgroup$ – N. Steinle Aug 20 '18 at 17:08
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As you point out, smoke is no more than particles of 'something' floating in the air. I would think that the main problem of trying to trap smoke in a bag or box is that those particles would stick to the walls. Plus the particles in wood smoke are heavy, they only float because they have hot air from the fire.

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What people usually understand as smoke is usually the solid residue of a combustion, which has gotten airborn. Taking as an example wood, the smoke is formed by pure carbon or carbon compounds that due to the hot air and their small size, they start to rise into the air. Once the air cools down and settles, these particles start to fall down.

Maybe in space, in an apparent zero gravity state, these particles would not settle, and you could be able to store it somewhere. But once you are back in a place with apparent gravity, the smoke would settle quickly. You also have the problem of the smoke settling on the walls of whatever container you use.

If you are curious about how smoke behaves, you can do some basic experiments with fine flour at your house.

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