Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How Do Ball Point Pens Work?

In today's high tech world, some things remain the same. One of those things is pens. You can probably look around you right now and find a pen. Even as much as email and Google are used to communicate and research, most people still use a pen to write checks, sign paperwork, jot down notes or even doodle. Today's ballpoint pen is so easy to come by and so inexpensive, you can find them laying around just about anywhere. More than likely, you've got a drawer full of them or even a cup by your desk filled with them.

Pens have come a long way, from the days of reed pens, quill pens, metal nib pens, and fountain pens. These pens had many problems with them. The ink would flow unevenly, making it difficult to write. The ink that was used was slow drying, since it was exposed to the air as it went through the pen. However, when the ink accidentally did dry in the pen, it became gummy and the entire pen had to be tediously cleaned.

The ballpoint pen put an end to these problems, once and for all. Have you ever thought about how it actually worked? Why does the ink come out so smoothly? How does it dry so quickly once it comes out, but not inside the pen? Let's look at a few things that make a ballpoint pen work perfectly.

Just as it sounds, a ballpoint pen has a ball at the point of the pen. This ball rotates and is made of metal. The ball acts as a cap to the ink while it is inside the pen and then acts as a device to disperse the ink as it rolls around. The ball held connected to the pen and held in a socket. The socket is between the ink reservoir and the paper you write on. The socket holds it tight enough to roll around as you write. Gravity does the rest. As you write and the ball rolls, gravity pulls the ink through the reservoir, onto the ball. The ball rolls and ink flows onto the paper. The ball allows the ink to flow evenly around the ball as you write and still keep the ink inside the reservoir sealed, so that it cannot dry. It's a beautiful design. This makes things much easy when writing.

A ballpoint pen is very tiny and may be hard to look at or even imagine. A good way to understand is to examine a bottle of roll-on deodorant. They use the same type of technology, just bigger. Deodorant has to do the same things as a pen, keep from drying while inside and flow out even when in use.