O the Electrohydrodynamics of Drop Extraction from a Conductive Liquid Meniscus
This thesis is concerned with the use of an electric field in the extraction of liquid drops from a capillary orifice or nozzle. The motivating application is ink jet printing. Current drop-on-demand ink jets use pressure pulses to eject drops. Literature on electrostatic spraying suggests that by using an electric field, drops could be produced with a wider range of sizes and speeds than is possible with pressure ejection. Previous efforts to apply electric spraying to printing or similar selective coating tasks have taken an experimental approach based on steady or periodic spraying phenomena, without attempting cycle -by-cycle drop control. The centerpiece of this thesis is a simulation tool developed to explore such possibilities. A simplified analytic model is developed as a preliminary step, yielding formulas for force and time scales that provide an appropriate basis for nondimensionalization of the governing differential equations; important dimensionless parameters are identified. The complete self-consistent model permits simulation of meniscus behavior under time -varying applied voltage or pressure, with the electric field solution continually updated as the surface changes shape. The model uses a quasi-one-dimensional hydrodynamic formulation and a two-dimensional axisymmetric boundary element solution for the electric field. The simulation is checked against experimental results for meniscus stability, resonant modes, and drop emission under electric field. The simulation faithfully captures important qualitative aspects of meniscus behavior and gives reasonable quantitative agreement within the limitations of the model. Insights gained in simulation point the way to a successful laboratory demonstration of drop extraction using a shaped voltage pulse. Drop size control is pursued in simulation using pressure and voltage pulses both alone and in combination, for both light and viscous liquids. Combining pressure and field pulses is shown to be synergistic; drop volumes over a range of 175 to 1 were obtained, while maintaining good drop velocity. The differing strategies for obtaining large and small drops are described. Drop extraction using only the electric field is more difficult, but promising approaches remain open.
- Pub Date:
- INK JET;
- Engineering: Electronics and Electrical; Applied Mechanics; Physics: Fluid and Plasma