Human eyes inspire invention of clog-free inkjet printer nozzle
Researchers at the University of Missouri have invented a clog-preventing inkjet printer nozzle cover taking inspiration from human eyes.
How human eye inspired invention of clog-free printer nozzle
The eyes of human beings remain moist because they are covered with a thin film of oil. Inspired by this, Jae Wan Kwon, associate professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Missouri, decided to do the same thing for inkjet nozzles. The only difference was that he used silicone oil to cover the opening of the nozzle when not in use, similar to the film of oil that keeps a thin layer of tears from evaporating off the eye.
“The nozzle cover we invented was inspired by the human eye,” said Jae Wan Kwon, associate professor in the College of Engineering. “The eye and an ink jet nozzle have a common problem: they must not be allowed to dry while, simultaneously, they must open. We used biomimicry, the imitation of nature, to solve human problems,” Kwon said.
How the clog-preventing printer nozzle will benefit users
If a color inkjet printer is not used for a prolonged period, the user starts facing printer issues such as clogging of printer nozzle. When the inkjet printer is used after a long time, a burst of fresh ink breaks through the crust of dried ink. Over a period of time a large amount of expensive ink is wasted due to this cleaning process. Kwon claims that this invention will eliminate the need to waste that squirt of ink, and hence could make home and office printers less wasteful.
“Adapting the clog-free nozzle to printing devices could save businesses and researchers thousands of dollars in wasted materials. For example, biological tissue printers, which may someday be capable of fabricating replacement organs, squirt out living cells to form biological structures. Those cells are so expensive that researchers often find it cheaper to replace the nozzles rather than waste the cells. Clog-free nozzles would eliminate the costly replacements,” Kwon said.
News Source: University of Missouri News Bureau