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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P024173/1
Principal Investigator: Castrejon-Pita, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Domino U K Ltd Trijet Limited University of Seville
Department: Engineering Science
Organisation: University of Oxford
Scheme: First Grant - Revised 2009
Starts: 01 April 2017 Ends: 31 March 2018 Value (£): 99,947
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Complex fluids & soft solids Fluid Dynamics
Multiphase Flow Rheology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
09 Feb 2017 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 9 and 10 February 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The breakup of liquid jets into droplets has been the focus of study for more than two centuries. The fast production of microjets and microdroplets has gained additional importance beyond its pure scientific interest motivated by their application in microfluidics devices and in some modern digital technologies, such as 2D and 3D-Printing. Most current studies of this topic aim to improve the control over the position, number and directionality of droplets and their satellites. The objective of this project is two-fold: (i) we will investigate and exploit self-stimulation (resonance) of liquid jets for a better control of the breakup frequency and length; and (ii) once we are able to extract the most unstable (most efficient) frequency we will study the generation of single drops from a continuous liquid jet by means of intermittent pressure pulses. A liquid jet/column will break up into droplets due to the action of surface tension. In continuous inkjet applications the breakup of a jet (or column) of ink is induced and controlled by applying external perturbations in the pressure (or velocity) of the fluid via piezoelectric elements. If the frequency and amplitude of these perturbations are within the so-called 'most unstable modes' range, droplets of uniform size will be obtained. Although these frequencies are roughly predicted by the Rayleigh/Weber equations, in practice this still requires much adjustment and fine tuning; this fine tuning is an empirical process that has to be repeated when different fluids, or inks, are used, which is both limiting and time consuming. We propose to detect and exploit self-stimulated modes in which the system tunes itself to its most unstable frequency by means of feedback. This, by definition, is the most efficient breakup. In this part of the project, mechanisms for self-stimulation will be investigated. The clear advantage of this approach is that the fine tuning is not needed and the breakup frequency can be readily found for a wide range of fluids (within a reasonable operating regime).

The second part of the project, the generation of single drops from an otherwise unperturbed jet will be investigated. These single drops could be used for precise deposition, on demand, of small volumes of fluids for a variety of applications (e.g. Inkjet Printing). Moreover, it is envisaged that within these drops single particles (or cells, or other immiscible liquids in emulsion, etc.) can be trapped in real time and selectively delivered to a specific target. These 'particles' may be functional materials, chemical reactants, cells, etc. which are normally dispersed in a carrier fluid on purpose (e.g. fluids with the correct nutrients to sustain life, or functional materials in 'latent' mode) or unintentional and undesired (e.g. solid pollutants). These two overlapping and complementing studies would increase the predictability and reproducibility of the velocity and volume of droplets, and as a consequence these would increase reliability, efficiency and quality of printing technologies.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.ox.ac.uk