The recent application of inkjet printing to fabrication of three-dimensional, multilayer and multimaterial parts has tested the limits of conventional printing-based additive manufacturing techniques. The novel method presented here, termed as additive manufacturing via microarray deposition (AMMD), expands the allowable range of physical properties of printed fluids to include important, high-viscosity production materials (e.g., polyurethane resins). AMMD relies on a piezoelectrically driven ultrasonic print-head that generates continuous streams of droplets from orifices while operating in the 0.5–3.0 MHz frequency range. The device is composed of a bulk ceramic piezoelectric transducer for ultrasound generation, a reservoir for the material to be printed, and a silicon micromachined array of liquid horn structures, which make up the ejection nozzles. Unique to this new printing technique are the high frequency of operation, use of fluid cavity resonances to assist ejection, and acoustic wave focusing to generate the pressure gradient required to form and eject droplets. We present the initial characterization of a micromachined print-head for deposition of fluids that cannot be used with conventional printing-based rapid prototyping techniques. Glycerol-water mixtures with a range of properties (surface tensions of and viscosities of ) were used as representative printing fluids for most investigations. Sustained ejection was observed in all cases. In addition, successful ejection of a urethane-based photopolymer resin (surface tension of and viscosity of ) was achieved in short duration bursts. Peaks in the ejection quality were found to correspond to predicted device resonances. Based on these results, we have demonstrated the printing of fluids that fall well outside of the accepted range for the previously introduced printing indicator. The micromachined ultrasonic print-head achieves sustained printing of fluids up to , far above the typical printable range.
Micromachined Ultrasonic Print-Head for Deposition of High-Viscosity Materials
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Meacham, J. M., O’Rourke, A., Yang, Y., Fedorov, A. G., Degertekin, F. L., and Rosen, D. W. (May 19, 2010). "Micromachined Ultrasonic Print-Head for Deposition of High-Viscosity Materials." ASME. J. Manuf. Sci. Eng. June 2010; 132(3): 030905. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4001551
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