Material properties of polyurethane cleaner blades and micron-scale properties of toner particles.
The complex process of laser printing consists of selectively adding toner to a photoconductor drum, then transferring this to a sheet of paper. However, not all of the toner gets transferred, and in order to print continuously, the excess toner must be constantly removed from the drum, typically with a polyurethane cleaner blade. The goals of the Lexmark SCOPE team are to evaluate materials for use as cleaner blades, and to investigate the interaction between the cleaner blade and the photoconductor drum. In addition to the above, the team is exploring methods of characterizing the micron-scale properties of toner particles. Toner, a composite of plastic and pigment, is well understood in bulk. However, in the printer, properties of single particles of toner are just as important. Thus, the team has an additional goal of identifying and evaluating methods of characterizing the microscopic materials properties of toner.