Ultrasonic Droplet Generation Jetting Technology for Additive Manufacturing: An Initial Investigation
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Additive manufacturing processes, which utilize selective deposition of material rather than traditional subtractive methods, are very promising due to their ability to build complex, highly specific geometries in short periods of time. Three-dimensional direct inkjet printing is a relatively new additive process that promises to be more efficient, scalable, and financially feasible than others. Due to its novelty, however, numerous technical challenges remain to be overcome before it can attain widespread use. This thesis identifies those challenges and finds that material limitations are the most critical at this point. In the case of deposition of high viscosity polymers, for example, it is found that droplet formation is a limiting factor. Acoustic resonance jetting, a technology recently developed at Georgia Institute of Technology, may have the potential to address this limitation because it generates droplets using a physical mechanism different from those currently in use. This process focuses ultrasonic waves using cavity resonances to form a standing wave with high pressure gradients near the orifice of the nozzle, thereby ejecting droplets periodically. This thesis reports initial exploratory testing of this technologys performance with various material and process parameters. In addition, analytical and numerical analyses of the physical phenomena are presented. Results show that, while the pressures generated by the system are significant, energy losses due to viscous friction within the nozzle may prove to be prohibitive. This thesis identifies and begins evaluation of many of the process variables, providing a strong basis for continued investigation of this technology.