Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Computers/Ink jet printer
Most current inkjets work by having a print cartridge with a series of tiny electrically-heated chambers. To produce an image, the printer runs a pulse of current through the heating elements. A steam explosion in the chamber forms a bubble, which propels a droplet of ink onto the paper (hence Canon's tradename for its inkjets, Bubblejet). When the bubble condenses, surplus ink is sucked back up from the printing surface. The ink's surface tension pumps another charge of ink into the chamber through a narrow channel attached to an ink reservoir.
Compared to earlier consumer-oriented printers, ink jets have a number of advantages. They are quieter in operation than impact dot matrix or daisywheel printers. They can print finer, smoother details through higher printhead resolution, and many ink jets with photorealistic-quality color printing are widely available.
The disadvantages of inkjets include flimsy print heads (prone to clogging) and expensive ink cartridges (sometimes costing US$30 – $40 or more). This typically leads value-minded consumers to consider laser printers for medium-to-high volume printer applications.
A common business model for inkjet printers involves selling the actual printer at or even below production cost, while dramatically marking up the price of the (proprietary) ink cartridges.