“Do you have a pen?”
“Whichever, I just have to write something.”
Most of us, if asked to note something down, would just start unlocking our phones or open a new text document on our perpetually running laptops/PCs. Writing things down is now recommended and not the obvious choice but the pens that we easily ignore are amazing pieces of technology.
Let us have a look at some popular types and then we will move ahead to understand how these technical things work.
- Rollerball pens
- Ballpoint pens
- Gel pens
- Felt tip pens
- Fountain pens
Everyone knew all these right? But how these functions is very interesting phenomenon.
Roller and ballpoint pens have similar mechanisms of functioning. There is a tiny ball made of various metals viz brass, steel and tungsten carbide at the end of the writing tips. When you try to write, the ball rolls inside the tip and dispenses ink on the paper. In case of a ballpoint pen, an oil based ink is dispensed on the paper that dries immediately on the paper and in case of roller pens, the ink is water based or gel based. The medium of the ink decides smoothness of the flow, water and gel based are smoother as compared to the oil based inks.
Let us move to the fountain pens. There are three parts in the mechanism,
- Nib (writing tip)
When you turn the nib of the pen to the paper, gravity and capillary actions are in play. Ink travels from the reservoir, through the feed to the nib, capillary action is in play here. At the same time, air travels in the opposite direction, gravity in action here. These are the developed versions of the earliest version of pens which were essentially capillaries with a writing tip, which was dipped in the ink after every 4-5 words. With development in the writing tools world, ballpoints, rollers and gels took the place of fountain pens as a tool of general writing. Though, the fountain pens are still the preferred choice in arts and calligraphy.
Finally, the least known of all, felt-tip pens. Felt tips are made of pressed together fibres. These pens have ink with very volatile bases and capillary action is responsible for writing here too.