Printability of Ink-jet Printing on Surface-treated Nonwoven Fabrics

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The micro scale distribution of ink-jet inks on surface-treated nonwoven synthetic fiber sheets was evaluated with a confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM) in order to characterize the ink-setting on the surface of the media.

Nonwoven synthetic fiber sheets made from hydrophilic or hydrophobic fibers were prepared. Surface characteristics of the nonwoven sheets varied with corona treatment. The corona-treated application on nonwoven sheets was investigated in order to improve the wettability of the surface of the nonwoven sheets. The corona-treated nonwoven sheets were printed using dye type and pigment type ink-jet printers and the distribution of the magenta inks on the sheets were observed using CLSM.

The micro scale distribution of the inks on the surface-treated nonwoven sheets could be estimated by CLSM nondestructively. Nearly all of the dye type inks did not fix on the hydrophobic nonwoven sheets. After applying corona treatment, the sheet surfaces became more hydrophilic, resulting in an increase of hydrophilic functional groups with the fiber surfaces and the ink set on the sheets. However, the process of ink-setting on the hydrophobic sheets differed with the type of hydrophobic fibers. It was observed that the microstructure of one kind of hydrophobic fiber changed under the corona treatment and more ink fixed on the surface of the fibers. This suggests that not only chemical but also micro structural changes of the sheet surfaces greatly affect the ink-setting on the sheets. In the case of the pigment type ink, more ink was able to set on the hydrophobic sheets compared to the dye type ink.

It was concluded that the wettability and the surface topography of the media had a great effect on the setting of the ink-jet inks and the printing quality. Higher quality ink-jet printing on nonwoven sheets is possible through suitable surface-treatment of the sheet. The CLSM method could be used to evaluate the printability of the media such as nonwoven synthetic fiber sheets.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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  • For more than 25 years, NIP has been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in non-impact and digital printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems, including drop-on-demand ink jet, wide format ink jet, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based electrophotographic printers, production digital printing systems, and thermal printing systems, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields.

    Since 2005, NIP has been held in conjunction with the Digital Fabrication Conference.

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