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What is an Ultrasonic Atomizer?

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  • Written By: Vasanth S.
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2016
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An ultrasonic atomizer is a device that converts a normal stream of liquid into a very fine mist. It consists of a generator and a probe. The generator creates vibrations and focuses them at the tip of the probe. As the liquid flows through the probe, it is converted into fine particles. The ultrasonic atomizer is often used in manufacturing applications, such as coating fabrics, adding moisture to a gas stream and injecting small amounts of a liquid into a reactor.

The ultrasonic atomizer has a power supply that converts low-frequency electrical energy to high-frequency electrical energy. This electrical energy is then converted into mechanical vibrations by a piezoelectric transducer, which is typically made of ceramic. The vibration is sent back to the piezoelectric transducer after it has bounced off the tip of the probe. This increases the strength of the vibration and creates a pumping action that draws liquid toward the center of the probe.

Liquid is introduced to the probe through an inlet on the side, usually by gravity or a low pressure pump. There are different probes for different applications. A flat tip probe, for example, can focus particles at a specific location. A wide dispersion probe has an extended spray range, making it ideal for coating applications, and a radial probe is typically used to spray the interior walls of bores.

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As liquid travels through the probe, it spreads out and becomes flat. The vibrations divide the liquid into individual droplets. The size of the droplet is dependent on the frequency of the electrical energy. The greater the electrical energy frequency is, the stronger the vibrations produced by the piezoelectric transducer are. Stronger vibrations produce smaller droplets.

When the droplets reach the tip of the probe, they are sprayed out. The flow rate of the spray is dependent on the viscosity of the liquid and the electrical energy frequency. The higher the frequency and viscosity, the lower the flow rate.

The ultrasonic atomizer has several advantages over traditional methods used to disintegrate liquids. Since the ultrasonic atomizer can precisely deliver an uniform spray, manufacturers can efficiently use raw materials and reduce pollution. The probe typically doesn't clog and is easily cleaned. This allows for the atomizing of several types of liquids, without the risk of contamination or erosion of the probe. Liquids containing long chain polymers, however, are difficult to atomize because of their strong cohesive properties.

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miriam98
Post 4

@Charred - A consumer grade painting device would be a good idea, I admit. The problem I’ve had with paint brushes, rollers and traditional sprayers is that the paint always clogs them up, if you don’t clean them very thoroughly.

It appears that it would difficult to clog the ultrasonic nozzle on the atomizer described in the article. Perhaps the device would last longer over the long haul as well.

SkyWhisperer
Post 3

@David09 - I prefer the term ultrasonic nebulizer. No, I don’t think that it’s splitting atoms or reducing particles to their atomic components, at least not according to the article.

It’s just getting them as close to their pure atomic form as possible, without a lot of extra gunk. Speaking of atomic, however, I do see applications where this kind of thing might be useful.

As we head into the field of nanotechnology, an ultrasonic nebulizer could be used to coat components at the nano level. This would be difficult to do with regular spray painting devices.

David09
Post 2

@Charred - I am a little confused about the term atomizer. Does this imply the particles are reduced to their atomic levels? I don’t think this is the case.

I would that think an atomizer would split stuff into its constituent atomic particles and then spread it that way. Of course in that case we’re talking about splitting atoms, which could have potentially negative consequences, so I don’t think that ultrasonic atomization means that – at least not in this context.

Charred
Post 1

Now this is the kind of device I should have had when I decided to repaint my house several years back. I don’t know if they make an ultrasonic mist maker for consumer usage, but it would be the tool to have if they did.

I did try one of those air blower paint sprayers but they were clunky to use, the paint did not spread evenly like I thought it would, and if it was windy the paint would get blown back in your face.

I think an ultrasonic device would fare much better because of a more even mist; you would probably have to aim the device very close to the surface however to avoid blowback from the wind.

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