The addition of hollow glass microspheres to polymers to change thermal insulation and mechanical properties is widely used.
In this study hollow glass microspheres were tested as a new construction material for photobioreactors to control irradiance and broth temperature in microalgae cultivation. The heat isolation properties of hollow glass microspheres of three different densities were tested in a polymer matrix.
The transmittance (5-50%) and the thermal conductivity (182.05-190.73 W/mK) of the hollow glass microspheres composite material were analyzed. The results were tested in a model to predict the broth temperature and the growth rate as a function of temperature and irradiance. The addition of 1.3 and 0.6 vol.% of hollow glass microspheres lead to an increase in the growth rate of up to 37% and a reduction in the broth temperature up to 9°C. The mechanical resistance of the composites tested is similar to the polymer matrix.
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