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Control of Direct Written Ink Droplets Using Electrowetting

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posted on 14.08.2019, 20:45 by J. Plog, J.-M. Löwe, Y. Jiang, Y. Pan, A. L. Yarin
Here, we investigate the feasibility and effectiveness of electrowetting in the motion control of droplets of different liquids, which are widely used as inks in direct writing (DW)-based three-dimensional (3D) printing processes for various applications. To control the movement of DW ink droplets on dielectric substrates, the electrodes were embedded in the substrate. It is demonstrated that droplets of pure liquid inks, aqueous polymer solution inks, and carbon fiber suspension inks can be moved on multi-angled surfaces. Also, experimental results reveal that droplets of a commercial hydrogel, agar–agar, alginate, xanthan gum, and gum arabic can be moved by electrowetting. Droplets of sizes 200 μm−3 mm were manipulated and moved by the electric field on different dielectric substrates accurately and repeatedly. Effective electrowetting-based control and movement of droplets were observed on horizontal, vertical, and even inverted substrates. These findings imply the feasibility and potential application of electrowetting as a flexible, rapid, and new method for ink droplet control in 3D printing processes.