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The Production of Monodisperse Explosive Particles with Piezo-electric Inkjet Printing Technology



Matthew E. Staymates, Robert A. Fletcher, R M. Verkouteren, Jessica L. Staymates, John G. Gillen


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is involved in a chemical metrology program to support the development of well characterized trace test materials for forensic and security applications. Toward this goal, we have developed a method to produce custom microparticles from compounds dissolved in nonpolar or polar solvents using drop-on-demand inkjet printer technology. An inkjet printer located atop a drying tube produces precise droplets containing defined quantities of analyte. As the aerosol droplets traverse down a drying tube, they solidify into microparticles with known compositions and diameters. Because this is a drop-on-demand inkjet printer, a known number of droplets are produced and thus there can be a quantitative particle delivery vehicle to a variety of substrates. Particular emphasis is placed on the development and characterization of the drying tube in this work. The drying tube was modeled using computational fluid dynamics and then experimentally evaluated using flow visualization techniques. A significant design feature of the drying tube is the ability to push heated air through the tube rather than the need to pull air from the exit. This provides the ability to place a known number of well- defined particles onto almost any substrate of interest, rather than having to collect particles onto a filter first and then transport them to another surface. Several types of particles have been produced by this system, examples of which are pure particles of RDX (1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5- triazcyclohexane) ranging from 10µm to 30 µm in diameter, ammonium nitrate particles of 40 µm diameter. The final particle size is directly related to the concentration of the printing solution and the size of the initial jetted droplet.
Review of Scientific Instruments


Staymates, M. , Fletcher, R. , Verkouteren, R. , Staymates, J. and Gillen, J. (2015), The Production of Monodisperse Explosive Particles with Piezo-electric Inkjet Printing Technology, Review of Scientific Instruments, [online], (Accessed June 17, 2024)


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Created December 29, 2015, Updated February 19, 2017