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Jettable fluid space and jetting characteristics of a microprint head

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2012

Loke-Yuen Wong
Department of Physics, National University of Singapore, Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 117542, Republic of Singapore
Guan-Hui Lim
Department of Physics, National University of Singapore, Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 117542, Republic of Singapore Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National University of Singapore, Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 117576, Republic of Singapore
Thiha Ye
Department of Physics, National University of Singapore, Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 117542, Republic of Singapore
F. B. Shanjeera Silva
Department of Physics, National University of Singapore, Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 117542, Republic of Singapore
Jing-Mei Zhuo
Department of Physics, National University of Singapore, Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 117542, Republic of Singapore
Rui-Qi Png
Department of Physics, National University of Singapore, Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 117542, Republic of Singapore
Soo-Jin Chua
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National University of Singapore, Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 117576, Republic of Singapore
Peter K. H. Ho*
Department of Physics, National University of Singapore, Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 117542, Republic of Singapore
Email address for correspondence:


The influence of fluid droplet properties on the droplet-on-demand jetting of a Newtonian model fluid (water–isopropanol–ethylene glycol ternary system) has been studied. The composition of the fluid was adjusted to investigate how the Ohnesorge number ($\mathit{Oh}$) influences droplet formation (morphology and speed) by a microfabricated short-channel shear-mode piezoelectric transducer. The fluid space for satellite-free single droplet formation was indeed found to be bound by upper and lower $\mathit{Oh}$ limits, but these shift approximately linearly with the piezo pulse voltage amplitude ${V}_{o} $, which has a stronger influence on jetting characteristics than pulse length. Therefore the jettable fluid space can be depicted on a ${V}_{o} {{\ndash}}\mathit{Oh}$ diagram. Satellite-free droplets of the model fluid can be jetted over a wide $\mathit{Oh}$ range, at least 0.025 to 0.5 (corresponding to $Z= {\mathit{Oh}}^{\ensuremath{-} 1} $ of 40 to 2), by adjusting ${V}_{o} $ appropriately. Air drag was found to dominate droplet flight, as may be expected. This can be accurately modelled to yield droplet formation time, which turned out to be $20\text{{\ndash}} 30~\lrm{\ensuremath{\mu}} \mathrm{s} $ under a wide range of jetting conditions. The corresponding initial droplet speed was found to vary linearly with ${V}_{o} $, with a fluid-dependent threshold but a fluid-independent slope, and a minimum speed of about $2~\mathrm{m} ~{\mathrm{s} }^{\ensuremath{-} 1} $. This suggests the existence of iso-velocity lines that run substantially parallel to the lower jetting boundary in the ${V}_{o} {{\ndash}}\mathit{Oh}$ diagram.

©2012 Cambridge University Press

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