Analytical systems from Malvern Panalytical are now used routinely to advance inkjet formulation at Domino Printing Sciences plc in the UK, one of the world’s leading printing technology companies. Malvern Panalytical’s Viscotek TDAmax, Zetasizer Nano and m-VROCi systems deliver the essential molecular weight, structure, particle size and rheological information used by formulation scientists in the development of today’s high-performance inkjet inks. The data they provide inform the development of inks that are stable, exhibit good jetting properties and deliver a durable finish.
Inkjet inks are multi-component formulations consisting of a solvent (organic or aqueous), a polymeric binder, a colorant (dye or pigment) and additives such as surfactants and surface modifiers. Producing inks with the performance characteristics needed for demanding applications such as adhesion on low surface energy substrates, for example polyethylene and polypropylene packaging, or jetting droplets at a high velocity from a narrow printhead nozzle requires a detailed understanding of how the physical characteristics of raw ingredients and formulations relate to final performance.
The multi detector Viscotek TDAmax GPC/SEC system measures the molecular weight, molecular weight distribution and structure of polymeric binders in the ink. These binders are used to optimize and control the viscosity of the ink and the way it jets from the print head. The Zetasizer Nano is a dynamic light scattering system that measures particle size, zeta potential and microrheology. These capabilities are used here to monitor pigment milling and to engineer ink stability. The latest addition to the range of Malvern Panalytical systems in use at Domino is the new m-VROCi microfluidic rheometer, which enables researchers to directly measure viscosity under the high shear conditions found at the print head, to further control jet-ability and atomization of the ink.
Malvern Panalytical’s application experts help us to understand how best to use both established and new analytical techniques in our research. The technical support that we’ve received has been a deciding factor in our decision to continue to work with the company. Malvern Panalytical systems also provide the cutting-edge performance and reliability that we need. We’re looking forward to fully exploiting the new rheological capabilities that we have recently invested in.
Stuart Reynolds, Senior Chemist at Domino Printing Sciences