We present a novel method for drop-on-demand (DOD) printing of molten metal droplets into 3D objects. This method involves the use of heating to pre-melt a solid metal structure (e.g. rod) to form a reservoir of liquid metal that feeds a nozzle chamber. Once the chamber is filled, a pulsed magnetic field is applied that permeates the chamber and induces a magnetohydrodynamic-based pressure pulse within the metal that causes it to be ejected out of the nozzle. Consequently, the ejected metal forms into a droplet due to surface tension and has a drop velocity in the range of several meters per second, the magnitude of which depends on the applied pressure. The droplet is projected onto a substrate where it cools to form a solid mass. 3D solid structures may be formed by either dropwise solidification or continuous solidification. In this talk we present a prototype printing system and sample printed structures. We discuss the underlying physics governing the drop generation process and present computational models for predicting device performance using various metals under the influence of both standard gravity and microgravity.
Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 4, Advanced Manufacturing, Electronics and Microsystems: TechConnect Briefs 2015
Published: June 14, 2015
Pages: 379 - 381
Industry sectors: Advanced Materials & Manufacturing | Sensors, MEMS, Electronics
Topic: Inkjet Design, Materials & Fabrication