The retraction of jetted slender viscoelastic liquid filaments

Uddalok Sen*, Charu Datt, Tim Segers, Herman Wijshoff, Jacco H. Snoeijer, Michel Versluis, Detlef Lohse*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
79 Downloads (Pure)


Long and slender liquid filaments are produced during inkjet printing, which can subsequently either retract to form a single droplet, or break up to form a primary droplet and one or more satellite droplets. These satellite droplets are undesirable since they degrade the quality and reproducibility of the print, and lead to contamination within the enclosure of the print device. Existing strategies for the suppression of satellite droplet formation include, among others, adding viscoelasticity to the ink. In the present work, we aim to improve the understanding of the role of viscoelasticity in suppressing satellite droplets in inkjet printing. We demonstrate that very dilute viscoelastic aqueous solutions (concentrations∼0.003%concentrations∼0.003% wt. polyethylene oxide, corresponding to nozzle Deborah number Den∼3Den∼3) can suppress satellite droplet formation. Furthermore, we show that, for a given driving condition, upper and lower bounds of polymer concentration exist, within which satellite droplets are suppressed. Satellite droplets are formed at concentrations below the lower bound, while jetting ceases for concentrations above the upper bound (for fixed driving conditions). Moreover, we observe that, with concentrations in between the two bounds, the filaments retract at velocities larger than the corresponding Taylor–Culick velocity for the Newtonian case. We show that this enhanced retraction velocity can be attributed to the elastic tension due to polymer stretching, which builds up during the initial jetting phase. These results shed some light on the complex interplay between inertia, capillarity and viscoelasticity for retracting liquid filaments, which is important for the stability and quality of inkjet printing of polymer solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA25
JournalJournal of fluid mechanics
Early online date27 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 25 Dec 2021


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