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Different types of Ink Cartridges

The inkjet printer comes with the ink cartridge – also known as the inkjet cartridge –that contains the ink that is deposited on the paper during printing. The cartridge can also contain a chip that communicates with the printer. The ink cartridge can contain one or more ink reservoirs. Normally the single ink cartridge contains a black colour and the colour printers contain the three basic colours of cyan, magenta and yellow, along with the basic black.

Types of ink cartridges

There are basically two types of cartridges –  Thermal and Piezoelectric, which determines the way the ink is deposited onto the paper. Most companies have adapted to use either one of the methods. The cartridge you need would depend on the inkjet printer brand used by you. Either way you need to source your cartridge from reputable suppliers like

Thermal Ink jet cartridges

Most of the consumer printers use the Thermal type of cartridges. Among them are Cannon and HP. Inside each partition of the cartridge is the heating element with a tiny reservoir. The printer gives a signal, which in turn send a tiny current through the metal or resistor making it warm and the ink in contact with the heated resistor is vaporized. This vaporized steam bubble forces the tiny portion of the ink from the nozzle onto the paper. The whole process is completed in a fraction of a millisecond.

However, there are certain care and precautions to be considered while using a thermal ink jet. It is common for the ink to dry, if not in use for some time. Cleaning the cartridge with alcohol may damage the printer head, Similarly cleaning the blocked cartridge with tap water will spoil the head due to contamination in the tap water. The printers normally alert when the cartridge need to be refilled or replaced before they go completely dry.

Piezoelectric ink jet cartridges

In a Piezoelectric ink jet cartridge, the heating element is replaced by piezoelectric crystals in each nozzle. When current is applied these crystals change shape or size and apply pressure to the ink in the cartridge thus forcing a tiny bit of the ink out of the nozzle on to the paper. Piezoelectric inkjet cartridges are used basically by Epson and claimed superior due to the advanced technology involved in saving of ink.

 Cartridge types

  • Monochromatic inkjets normally use black colour. The black is now standardised.
  • Colour cartridges use the CMYK colour model that is the cyan, magenta, yellow and the key black.
  • Some cartridges are made especially for printing photographs.
  • Cartridges are unique to the printers model and cannot be interchanged.
  • Some manufacturers incorporate printer heads into their cartridges.
  • Some of the innovations are refillable ink tanks for cost effectiveness.