School of Energy and Power Engineering, Huazhong University of Science & Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, 430074, China
School of Mechanical Science and Engineering, Huazhong University of Science & Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, 430074, China
Inkjet technology is an essential tool for precise and quick delivery of liquids in micro-droplets. A key topic of the technology is to deliver the droplets efficiently by designing the nozzle that is related to the droplet speed and the droplet volume in a stable inkjet process. The ejected droplets are usually too small to determine their physical states through onsite measurement. Complex physical phenomena, such as the coupling effects of surface tension, viscous force and inertial force, make it difficult to optimize the nozzle design by experiments alone. In the paper, we adopt computational fluid dynamics to investigate the inkjet process with the orthogonal test method to arrange the studied cases. The computational results firstly have been verified through measuring a simulated case that could be observed in the experiment. Different nozzle structures then have been examined by numerical simulation. It is found that the Laval-shaped nozzle can improve the droplet speed significantly to deliver the droplets fast, and that the curvilinear-triangle-shaped nozzle can minimize the droplet volume to improve the printing accuracy. It is further revealed that a large ink viscosity and surface tension, as well as a low ink density can improve the process stability. Additionally, a parameter combined by the droplet speed, the droplet volume and the stability level is proposed to evaluate the comprehensive performance of the inkjet nozzle.