The influence of hygro-thermal behavior

Hello, my name’s Amritam Das and I am in the Control Systems research group at the department of Electrical Engineering where I am investigating how we can influence the hygro-thermal behavior – the interaction between heat and fluid – in order to achieve improved product quality in various printing applications.

Key challenges

There are three key challenges here. First, the physical behavior of hygro-thermal systems are expressed with partial differential equations that have an infinitely number of possible solutions, which makes this a very difficult problem to solve. Second, the system often involves some unknown physical parameters that tend to be hard to estimate. Third is the infinite dimensional nature of the problem, which demands a large number of sensors and actuators. In reality, only a limited number of devices are available for real-time operation. 

High quality, low power

In taking a model-based design and optimization approach, we have been able to categorize the hygro-thermal aspects of different modules in a printing device as ‘diffusion processes’ and have developed an explicit mathematical description of the physical behavior of the hygro-thermal interaction. We have 

also identified the factors that can potentially influence the hygro-thermal behavior. Finally, a solution strategy has been developed for drying the printed objects by achieving the desired level of moisture content on the printed media as well as keeping the power usage as low as possible. 

Print the world

In this modern society, manufacturing is undergoing a paradigm shift. From the world of traditional printing we now want to print the world. In any printing process, the most important metric is the quality of the end product. To this end, the fluid used as an agent to print and the media on which we print play the most important roles. Now, achieving the right temperature of the fluid and also post-print drying of the product are crucial factors to determine the quality. This project will potentially develop a solution where we utilize minimal energy for such hygro-thermal aspects in printing and still achieve desired level of quality. I expect that any professional printing industry, whether 2D or 3D printing, as well as manufacturing and the food industry will be interested in the energy-efficient, quality-enhancing solution this project aims to produce.