Hollow glass microspheres, also known as glass beads, have been manufactured for at least 100 years. Brothers Rudolph and Paul Potters produced glass beads in New York as early as 1914. In 1922, large quantities of high-refractive-index glass beads were produced to coat movie screens.
Hollow glass microsphere technology was developed as an outgrowth of the manufacture of solid glass beads following the publication of the first patents in this area in the 1950s. Since that time, many companies have been involved in the development and manufacture of a variety of microspheres.
Hollow glass microspheres were introduced as fillers for plastics in the mid-1960s and since then, their use has increased rapidly. First-generation hollow glass microspheres have been used in applications in many areas, including aerospace and military materials, molded plastic components and retroreflective highway signs. Since their introduction, microspheres have been adopted into hundreds of applications in diverse industries, including oil and gas, recreation, paints and coatings, transportation, construction, mining explosives, and consumer products.
For the first 20 years after their introduction, hollow glass microspheres were not sufficiently robust to survive the high-shear forces and pressure involved in plastics compounding and injection molding. We introduced a hollow glass microsphere with isostatic crush strength of 10,000 psi, which is more than twice as strong as any hollow glass microsphere that was previously available. This enhanced survivability meant that hollow glass microspheres could be used as fillers in many high-shear processes. In recent years, hollow glass microspheres have experienced excellent growth due to the emergence of new high-value, high-growth markets. These markets include biomedical, cosmetic, personal care and specialty applications, among others. Hollow glass microspheres are increasingly found in many companies’ toolboxes.
This article comes from cospheric edit released