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University of Cambridge publishes research into inkjet paradox

University of Cambridge publishes research into inkjet paradox

February 21, 2012

Department of Engineering and Institute for Manufacturing has developed a method of predicting the dispersal of a filament of fluid.

The University of Cambridge has published research in the journal Physical Review Letters that may help solve the so-called inkjet paradox of creating tiny droplets from viscous fluids, reports Print Week.

Scientists from the Department of Engineering and Institute for Manufacturing have devised a method of predicting whether a thread of liquid will condense along its length and form a single droplet or collapse into several droplets. The process of droplet generation was recreated using a large-scale model of a printhead, with ultrafast imaging technologies employed to observe droplet formation within a solution of water and glycerine.

With the solution at an adequately viscous degree, filaments would be formed across several centimetres and would slowly contract to form a single droplet rather than break up.

Professor Ian Hutchings, who led the research team, commented: “Our regime diagram can predict whether or not a certain liquid can be broken into useful droplets; it is, in simple words, a rule of thumb to determine whether a liquid can be used to produce a droplet or not.”

Dr Alfonso Pita added: “For the first time in an experimental and quantitative way, the ultimate behaviour of a filament under nothing but the action of viscous and surface tension forces has been explored.

Barney Cox, a senior consultant at InfoTrends, remarked: “Hopefully, it will enable the development of printing systems that overcome current limitations ins peed, cost, reliability and application. Ultimately, these developments should help printing remain competitive in the current graphical and information markets it addresses, as well making it suitable for other industries and manufacturing processes.”

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