Laser-induced forward transfer (LIFT) is a nozzle-free printing technology that can be used for two-and three-dimensional printing. In LIFT, a laser pulse creates an impulse inside a thin film of material that results in the formation of a liquid jet. We experimentally study LIFT of viscoplastic materials by visualizing the process of jetting with high-speed imaging. The shape of the jet depends on the laser energy, focal height, surface tension and material rheology. We theoretically identify the characteristic jetting velocity and how it depends on the control parameters, and define non-dimensional groups to classify the regimes of jetting. Based on the results, we propose the optimal conditions for printing with LIFT technology.
- interfacial flows (free surface)
- non-Newtonian flows
- complex fluids