In modern drop-on-demand inkjet printing, the jetted droplets contain a mixture of solvents, pigments and surfactants. In order to accurately control the droplet formation process, its in-flight dynamics, and deposition characteristics upon impact at the underlying substrate, it is key to quantify the instantaneous liquid properties of the droplets during the entire inkjet printing process. An analysis of shape oscillation dynamics is known to give direct information of the local liquid properties of millimetersized droplets and bubbles. Here, we apply this technique to measure the surface tension and viscosity of micrometer-sized inkjet droplets in flight by recording the droplet shape oscillations microseconds after pinch-off from the nozzle. From the damped oscillation amplitude and frequency we deduce the viscosity and surface tension, respectively. With this ultrafast imaging method we study the role of surfactants in freshly made inkjet droplets in flight and compare to complementary techniques for dynamic surface tension measurements.
Staat, H. J. J., van der Bos, A., van den Berg, M., Reinten, H., Wijshoff, H. M. A., Versluis, M., & Lohse, D. (2017). Ultrafast imaging method to measure surface tension and viscosity of inkjet printed droplets in flight. Experiments in Fluids, 58(1), 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00348-016-2284-8