Research project

The effect of surfactants on drying inkjet printed droplets

Inkjet printing is a complex technology in which several physical processes are involved. An ink droplet that is deposited onto paper experiences both evaporation and absorption at the same time, resulting in a non-trivial internal flow. In order to control this flow, surfactants are often employed as a mixture component. These molecules reduce the liquid’s surface tension, which can result in a completely different flow and therefore a different final ink pattern.

Since it is not straight-forward to predict and measure flow in microscopic ink droplets, models are required to give insight into the relevant dynamics. In this project, such a numerical model is developed to allow one to carry out simulations of evaporating and absorbing droplets with surfactants. The results of these simulations give information on evaporation/absorption time, internal flow field, surfactant distribution and more. The goal is to analyze the obtained data to get a better understanding of the physical processes that are involved. This way, industry can, for example, make better substantiated choices regarding the composition of ink.

People involved in this project: Ruben van Gaalen, Hans Kuerten