Impact-driven ejection of micro metal droplets on-demand

Jun Luo, Lehua Qi, Yuan Tao, Qian Ma, C.W. Visser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


On-demand metal droplet deposition will be a cornerstone technology in 3D metal printing. However, suitable small nozzles are hardly available, limiting the resolution and surface finish of final products. Here, the ejection of record-small metal droplets with a diameter of only 0.55±0.07 times the nozzle diameter was demonstrated. To this end, a novel metal drop-on-demand (DoD) generator for high-temperature metal processing was designed and manufactured. A metal rod was utilized to transfer a vibration pulse, which was required to eject a liquid droplet, from a low-temperature region to the high-temperature liquid metal close to the nozzle. The influence of the pulse characteristics on the droplet ejection regime was studied experimentally and numerically. A 2D axisymmetric numerical model revealed that the shorter pulses allow reducing the droplet size, with the pulse duration of 13 μs resulting in the smallest feasible droplets. A novel method to create such short pulses, by impacting the metal-ring connected rod with a solid impactor was manufactured and tested, and the benefits of this method over more the spring-type pulse transfer was experimentally confirmed. This research provides a feasible way to achieve ejection of the small metal droplet on-demand
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
JournalInternational journal of machine tools & manufacture
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • IR-100774
  • METIS-317333


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