Probing Ink-Powder Interactions During 3D Binderjet Printing Using Time Resolved X-Ray Imaging

Srimanta Barui, Hui Ding, Zixin Wang, Hu Zhao, Shashidhara Marathe, Wajira Mirihanage, Bikramjit Basu, Brian Derby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Capillary driven ink infiltration through a porous powder bed in 3D binderjet printing (inkjet printing onto a powder bed) controls the printing resolution and as-printed ‘green’ strength of the resulting object. However, a full understanding of the factors controlling the kinetics of the infiltration remains incomplete. Here, high resolution in situ synchrotron radiography provides time resolved imaging of the penetration of an aqueous solution of eythylene glycol through a porous alumina powder bed, used as a model system. A static drop-on-demand inkjet printer was used to dispense liquid droplets onto a powder surface. The subsequent migration of the liquid front and its interactions with powder particles was tracked using fast synchrotron X-radiography in the Diamond Synchrotron, with phase contrast imaging at a frame rate of 500 Hz. Image processing and analysis reveal both the time dependent increment in the wetting area and the propagation of the ‘interface leading edge’ exhibit heterogeneous behavior in both the temporal and spatial domain. However, mean infiltration kinetics are shown to be consistent with existing infiltration models based on the Washburn equation modified to account for the spreading of the liquid drop on the powder surface and using a modified term for the bed porosity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
Early online date22 Jun 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jun 2020


  • inkjet printing
  • ink-powder interaction
  • capillary infiltration
  • Washburn model
  • X-radiography
  • synchroton in situ imaginig


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