Pea Soup Smoke Machines
The smoke machine specialists

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Pea Soup is a UK company that specialises in smoke machines and related special effects.

From testing the air flow inside chocolate making machines in Belgium to fire training for the US Army -- from creating a light haze in a church for a BBC period drama to testing hundreds of smoke detectors on the world's largest oil platform, Pea Soup have the range of machines for virtually any application.

Pea Soup's own-brand smoke machines offer you variety and versatility. The various machines and fluids available allow you to create large or small amounts of smoke for your application effectively, efficiently and safely.

Pea Soup Smoke Machines
are proudly manufactured in Britain under ISO:9001 Quality Assurance



Artificial smoke is produced by heating a chemical above its boiling point within a heat exchanger. The chemical is then vaporised, and it is when the vapour exits the heat exchanger and mixes with the relatively colder atmosphere that rapid condensation of the vapour takes place, resulting in a visible smoke (or technically fog).

It is important that the vaporisation of the chemical within the heat exchanger is complete, otherwise the production of a 'wet' smoke , or a smoke with a very large particle size will result.

Conversely, it is important that the heat exchanger through which the chemical is passed is not operating at too high a temperature, otherwise unpleasant and potentially hazardous pyrolysis products will be formed.

Water Based

The majority of smoke chemicals in use today are generally referred to as 'water based'. This rather vague term describes chemicals which are water miscible, and are in the main based on glycols and glycerol.

Water based smoke s are dense and white, and the generators that produce them, such as our Colt, can be simple to operate and very compact.

Typically two-thirds of the ' Smoke Chemical' is made up of active ingredient, the remaining one-third being purified, de-ionised water.

Different Glycols produce smokes of differing persistencies, Propylene Glycol generally being the least persistent. Glycerol is by far and away the most persistent 'water based' smoke .

We would normally recommend that, where dense concentrations of water-based smoke are required (e.g. Fire Brigade Training, Leak Testing), that the most persistent smoke possible is produced (like our Rocket or Dragon). The use of chemicals with high percentages of glycols, whilst producing dense white smoke , is not cost effective, as the smoke disperses so quickly that one is having to produce smoke almost all the time in order to keep up with the rate of breakdown of the smoke .

Glycol smoke begins to layer noticeably at 35-45°C, Glycerine smoke at about 50-60°C.

Oil Based

Pea Soup also have great experience in the production of food quality oil based smoke systems. These systems produce a smoke that is far more persistent than the very best of the water based smoke , and so are capable of smoke logging huge volumes with relatively low consumption of smoke chemical. The smoke produced by the Phantom system is also extremely resistant to very high temperatures, starting to layer at 135 - 200°C dependent on the fluid type chosen, making it highly suitable for hot fire training, as well as unheated applications.


How safe is artificial smoke ?

Pea Soup's own brand smoke generators do not compromise on quality or safety. We have a comprehensive technical library of health and safety reports, analyses, independent laboratory tests and particle distribution data second to none. The smoke produced by our own systems is amongst the safest available today.

Pea Soup's own brand smoke generators are designed and manufactured under BS EN ISO 9001 Quality Assurance Approval for the "Design and manufacture of NON TOXIC smoke systems".



Smoke from all Pea Soup systems can be ducted if required, using the inherent velocity of smoke produced by the systems, or incorporating fan assistance if rapid distribution of smoke is required.

Generally a small amount of deposition should be expected in ducting systems as the smoke particles are being artificially restricted, and cannot separate and spread out as they would in free air. For best results the ducting should be as short and straight as possible, with as smooth a bore as practical, so that frictional losses within the duct are kept to a minimum.

Fan assistance can greatly improve the effectiveness of ducted systems and Pea Soup have a comprehensive range of centrifugal blowers to suit almost every application. If you have an application which calls for the ducting of smoke then please contact us. We would be pleased to assist you in specifying the correct ducting and fan combination, which we can also supply.


Particle Size - Why Smaller is Better

Common to all Pea Soup brand smoke generators is the incorporation of precision, machined, specially treated steel heat exchanger blocks, in which the smoke chemical is vaporised.

Conventional smoke generators normally use either cast or platen type aluminium heat exchangers, which, whilst very cost effective to make, generally produce a smoke particle with a mass median diameter (mmd) of 1 - 2 microns.

This compares with a typical particle size of just 0.2- 0.3 micron mmd for the vast majority of our Pea Soup brand smoke systems, be they water or oil based.

The general benefits of producing such a consistent and clearly defined particle distribution are:

  • the smaller the particle size of the smoke, (or more accurately fog) the smaller the amount of chemical is required within the atmosphere to achieve any given visibility. This can have a significant effect on running costs for heavy users of artificial smoke (fire brigades etc.)
  • the less the amount of chemical in the atmosphere, the safer the smoke if measured in terms of relative Occupational Exposure Levels.
  • the smaller the particle size of the smoke , the lower its settling velocity (the rate at which a particle will fall, due to gravity). A smoke particle of unit density, 0.2 micron in diameter, will fall at 9mm /hr, compared to a 2 micron particle, which falls at 468mm/hr. In essence this means that the smaller the particle of smoke you produce, the less chance there is that deposition of smoke particles will occur.

Pea Soup's expertise in the field means that we actually produce systems specifically designed to fulfil the requirements of BS 5295, for the testing of HEPA filters in the nuclear, chemical and pharmaceutical industries our factory personnel are registered with the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) for site work at nuclear establishments.


Temperature Resistance of Artificial Smoke

The artificial smoke produced by thermal smoke generators such as ours will break down as the ambient temperature increases.

Water based smoke s generally begin to layer at temperatures as low as 35°C, rising to around 60°C for Glycerine systems (such as our Rocket and Dragon).

However, if smoke testing or training is required at higher temperatures, the Phantom range of smoke systems from Pea Soup offers a practical and very cost effective solution. Resistant to temperatures up to 200°C before layering commences, the Phantom is rapidly proving to be a preferred choice for all applications, such as Hot Fire Training where the use of artificial smoke in elevated temperatures - previously limited to pyrotechnic smoke bombs - is required.

Related products:
Name Description
Hand Portable Smoke Machine The Rocket is the market leading compact portable smoke generator. Robust, powerful and reliable.
2.2kW High Output Smoke Machine The Dragon is our highest quality water-based smoke generator offering continuous 100% high output and uncompromising component reliability.
Oil Based Smoke Generators The ultimate choice for larger applications whose super dense smoke has a very high temperature tolerance and persistence.

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