Numerical study of surface agglomeration of ultraviolet-polymeric ink and its control during 3D nano-inkjet printing process

S Aphinyan and EYM Ang and JJ Yeo and TY Ng and KR Geethalakshmi, JOURNAL OF POLYMER SCIENCE PART B-POLYMER PHYSICS, 56, 1615-1624 (2018).

DOI: 10.1002/polb.24749

There is a pressing need in very small scale three-dimensional (3D) inkjet printing to control and reduce agglomeration, as agglomeration often leads to nozzle clogging. While agglomeration within ultraviolet ink has been studied, there has been, to our knowledge, no extensive studies conducted for surface agglomeration of the ink on nozzle's wall. This numerical study therefore focuses on investigating if surfactants can effectively control surface agglomeration during nanodroplet formation. Many-body dissipative particle dynamics is the numerical method of choice here. We found that small amount of surfactant of about 1 wt % is sufficient to effectively reduce ink deposition on the nozzle's wall. However, by using the properties of a commercially available surfactant, sodium dodecyl sulfate, it was found that the maximum reduction achieved by its addition is only 60%. Thus, further physical or chemical deagglomeration techniques are required, and we show that by considering these other techniques, reduction of surface agglomeration to nearly 92% can be achieved. Finally, we found that adding surfactants has the additional benefit of improving total kinetic energy of the ink compositions, lowering possibility of agglomerations within the ink. It also raises the nanodroplet velocity while reducing nanodroplet breakup time, which can help speed up the process of 3D printing process. (c) 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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