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Relevant Influencing Factors on Droplet Characteristics for a Piezoelectrically Driven Drop-on-Demand Printhead

[+] Author Affiliations
Markus Kagerer, Arne Meeuw, Jan Berger, Dominik Rumschoettel, Tim C. Lueth, Franz Irlinger

Technische Universität München, Garching, Germany

Paper No. IMECE2014-36199, pp. V007T09A055; 10 pages
doi:10.1115/IMECE2014-36199
From:
  • ASME 2014 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 7: Fluids Engineering Systems and Technologies
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, November 14–20, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4954-5
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME

abstract

Dispensing minute amounts of fluid is used in many industries, such as in life science, bioengineering, 3D printing, or in electronics manufacturing. Each application for drop-on-demand (DoD) printheads requires different drop volumes and drop velocities. Furthermore, it is necessary to eject droplets made of fluids with different fluid properties, like viscosity, surface tension, or density. Due to this wide range of different applications and demands on printheads it is important to investigate the influence of relevant factors on the droplet formation process. Therefore, the influence of the fluid properties, the printhead geometry, and the electrical excitation form on the droplet formation process are described in this project. In detail, the influence of the surface tension as well as the viscosity of the fluid, the nozzle length and its width, and the amplitude of the applied voltage at different pulse widths on the droplet characteristics are investigated.

The used printhead consists of a silicon chip, which includes the fluidic components, and of a bimorph piezoelectric actuator. The printhead is manufactured with rapid manufacturing techniques, such as laser micromachining. The advantage of this method is that the printhead is adaptable to new boundary conditions in a time- and cost-saving manner. In this project, the nozzles have a square shape with a sidelength between 50 and 100 μm and the nozzle length varies between 50 and 200 μm.

A fluid mixture is provided which can be varied in its fluid properties. Therefore, the possibility for the independent adjustment of its viscosity and its surface tension is given. The mixture consists of glycerin, distilled water, and isopropanol. An analytical description for each amount of its substances enables to provide a fluid with defined properties. Three kinds of experiments are carried out in order to determine the influence of the fluid properties, the printhead geometry, and the electrical excitation on the droplet formation process. The determination of the minimum excitation voltage needed for droplet ejection and the determination of the droplet volume and its velocity. The main results are: The higher the surface tension, viscosity, and nozzle length, the higher is the minimum excitation voltage. Furthermore, the droplet velocity decreases for an increased surface tension, viscosity, and nozzle length. On the other hand, the droplet velocity increases with an enlarged amplitude of the voltage and pulse width. The droplet volume increases for an increased surface tension, nozzle width, pulse width, and amplitude of the voltage. In general, the reasons for these correlations are the interaction between the strength of the pressure pulse, friction forces, fluidic resistances, and fluid properties.

Overall, the possibility to achieve microdroplets made of different fluids and with a specific velocity and volume is described. Furthermore, a fluid mixture, which can be varied in its fluid properties, is presented.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME
Topics: Drops

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