Syntactic foams offer low density polymers for insulation and transportation applications with the advantage of having high mechanical properties. In this study, poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) syntactic foams were produced with three different types of hollow glass microspheres as low, medium and high density.
It was observed that the density of the syntactic foams was in inverse ratio to the strength properties of the syntactic foams. The lowest measured syntactic foam density was obtained with the addition of high density hollow glass microspheres into the PMMA matrix without compromising the mechanical properties.
Surface coating of hollow glass microspheres allowed increase in the flexural strength and the impact strength of PMMA syntactic foam by 12% and 17%, respectively, when they were compared with their counterparts with the uncoated hollow glass microspheres.
Addition of hollow glass microspheres with modified surfaces into PMMA matrix reduced the composite density by 10% with respect to the neat PMMA while had no significant effect on its thermal characteristics.