As paint formulators face the challenges of a tougher regulatory environment, aggressive competition and greater customer demands, they must reach deeper into their tool boxes to deliver solutions. Innovative raw materials and creative processes can help the paint chemist address these issues. One type of specialty additive on which chemists have begun to rely is the class of products known as hollow glass microspheres. Although solid hollow glass microspheres are widely used in reflective traffic paint, the focus of this article will be on the unique properties of hollow glass microspheres. Hollow glass microspheres are a small, but growing, element in many a formulator's arsenal.
Overview of hollow glass microspheres
As the name implies, hollow glass microspheres are small, spherical particles. Particle sizes range from 12 to 300 microns in diameter, and wall thickness can vary from several microns to as low as 0.1 micron. They can be composed of acrylonitrile, glass, ceramic or phenolic materials. Because they are hollow, the true density of hollow glass microspheres is lower than that of other non-soluble additives. The true density of hollow glass microspheres ranges from 0.60 g/cc to as low as 0.025 g/cc.
Hollow glass microspheres have found use in many applications over the years. They are widely used in the fiber-reinforced polyester industry to improve the manufacturing process of shower stalls and boats. Lighter, more-durable fiberglass products are a direct result of the creative use of hollow glass microspheres. Thick-film ink, mining explosives, and rubber and plastic products of all descriptions are just a few other examples of the many products that are made better with these versatile materials. The benefits derived by these diverse end uses vary - some are unique to a specific industry, while others are common goals shared by many manufacturers.
This article comes from pcimag edit released