Next Generation Inkjet Technology: Background
Despite an inkjet of sorts being described by Lord Kelvin in 1867, and being developed as a printing technique for around 50 years, inkjet printing still presents us with challenging problems if we wish to fully understand and predict ink jet printer performance. Inkjet has grown from a specialised means of printing variable information onto documents and products to a multi-billion dollar industry where the printer of choice for most domestic and many office applications is an inkjet printer of some kind. Applications have extending into posters, packaging and fabrics. Beyond printing, inkjet is finding application in dispensing, rapid prototyping, PCBs, flexible displays and flexible electronics. (picture source: CDT)
The higher accuracy and higher speeds required in the new applications of inkjet make demands beyond the current state of the art. In modern inkjet printing, jets and droplets are formed at extremely high speeds with the liquids experiencing very high shear rates. The fluids contain significant amounts of polymer and/or particulates and so have particularly complex rheological properties. The combination of these two things leads to complex and inadequately-explained behaviour. (picture source: Sunjet)
In the UK, particularly around Cambridge, are a number of Companies who are pioneers in the art, science and application of inkjet. Cambridge University has joined forces with many of these companies in a venture to study the fundamental behaviour of liquids in the circumstances encountered in an inkjet system.
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