Light emitting devices containing conjugated polymers are conveniently fabricated using ink-jet printing. A common problem in the processing of these materials is that the Newtonian viscosity of the polymer solution is not sufficient to describe the jetting performance because the molecular weights and concentrations employed are such that the resulting solutions are elastic. These differences in fluid elasticity levels cannot be measured using traditional techniques like dynamic mechanical experiments or the first normal stress difference in shear, but strongly impact the jetting behavior of the liquid. In this study, a variety of polystyrene solutions in DECALIN having a shear viscosity of ~5 mPa s but different elasticity levels were examined for their jetting behavior. The jetting behavior of these solutions was studied visually using drop-on-demand jetting equipment and their rheology was characterized using a custom extensional rheometer designed for measuring the elasticity of such low viscosity liquids. If elasticity effects are absent as in Newtonian liquids (corresponding to a Trouton ratio of 3) satellite drops are formed resulting in loss of liquid and poor positioning. On the other hand, if elasticity effects are very large (Trouton ratios ≫4) separation problems occur at the nozzle with undesirable “tailing.” The optimum range for stable, efficient jetting occurs at Trouton ratios in a narrow band between 3 and ~5. A very slight degree of elasticity corresponding to a Trouton Ratio around four thus seems to be optimum for the jetting process. This appears to be the first time that such a design criterion has been outlined for this process. Such an approach complements thermal techniques for elucidating the role of molecular and flow properties on the processing behavior of polymeric systems.
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Yang, Y. Polymer electrolumiscent devices. MRS Bull. 1997;22: 631–38.)| false
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