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From Ink Bottle to Ink Drop: The Flow Environment in an Inkjet Printhead

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In any inkjet system, the ink goes through various physical and geometric constraints which influence the flow dynamics and finally the jetting characteristics. The dynamic flow behaviour in-channel, through the nozzle and in flight during printing is vital to control print quality (drop ejection characteristic, reliability) and further advances in the capability of inkjet technology.

This paper will discuss the flow behaviour at each stage of a drop-on-demand printhead. The fluid dynamics of the ink on the millimetre scale within the printhead inlet is very different to that on the micron scale within the channel and nozzle. Although they are all in the laminar flow regime they are subject to very different shear rates. In a printhead, various system components (ink, heaters, pumps, actuator and nozzle) must be designed or configured to achieve target velocity, frequency, drop size, and reliability. Both simulation and experimental results on these topics will be discussed in this paper.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • 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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