Molecular dynamics simulation of ink imbibition in porous media


Wettability and imbibition of ink in paper are key phenomena underlying the inkjet printing process. The goal of this project is to investigate the complex multiphase ink-substrate interactions at the microscopic scale using molecular dynamics simulations. The research is subdivided into two work packages: developing an approach to formulating an optimal water-based ink, and exploring the imbibition of ink in a porous medium.


When a drop of water-based ink is deposited on a porous substrate, the imbibition of the droplet is strongly affected by the ink composition and the pore’s physicochemical properties. Molecular dynamics simulations are used to take into account the multitude of interactions between the ink components and the substrate. We find that surfactants enhance the imbibition of the fluid mixture into a capillary, see Figure. The chemical properties of the porous structure also markedly affect the imbibition rate. These findings, and the exploration of their molecular origins, enable the formulation of guidelines for the efficient design of more optimized inks and paper coatings.


a) Molecular dynamics simulation of imbibition into a nanopore by a water-glycerol mixture. b) Imbibition ratios of various liquids into pores in various materials.

People involved

Dr. A. Jarray (Ahmed)

T. Hulikal Chakrapani (Thejas)

Prof.Dr. S.A. Luding (Stefan)

Dr. W.K. den Otter (Wouter)