In this paper, we demonstrate how to use a personal computer sound card to develop an experimental platform for evaluating the jettability and jetting behavior of inkjet fluids. The test fluid is driven out of a nozzle acoustically using a loudspeaker, forming a jet. The subsequent jet breakup process is then captured using a stroboscopic light source and a camera. Instead of using a delay generator as in previous work, the current setup uses a computer sound card and audio amplifier to (i) generate actuation waveforms of arbitrary shapes and (ii) synchronize the jet actuation and imaging with a time precision close to 5 μs. To correct for any signal distortions caused by the built-in high pass filters of the sound card and amplifier, a numerical filter is created and applied before sending the desired signal to the sound card. Such correction method does not require physically modifying the hardware of the sound card or amplifier and is applicable to different waveforms and filters provided that the transfer function is correctly identified. The platform has been tested using 20% (v/v) glycerol in water as a model fluid. Combining this platform with digital image analysis further enables a quantitative assessment of parameters such as the volumes and positions of the jet and drop that are important for quality control and development of new ink formulations.

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