Analyzing Hollow Glass Microspheres and Composites

Microscopic glass sphere

Microscopic glass spheres can be used in numerous applications; as an adjusting aid and distancing element of electricity-conducting single components, in microelectronic mechanics, as an abrasion-deterring element in grating components, in mechanical engineering, and as a material for artistic surface design.

A New Adhesive System

The Controltac adhesive system is an innovation in the area of large format graphic films. In this system, approximately 50 µm strong films are equipped. In addition to the adhesive, millions of microscopic (40 up to 50 µm diameter) glass spheres are utilized in an exact, regular arrangement.

This is achieved through the preceding microstructuring of the surface. The small glass spheres create a gliding effect between the adhesive and the area to be adhered, enabling precise alignment of the foil.

The spheres sink into the adhesive layer upon application of stronger pressure, and can then be permanently fixed to the base. This technology enables large formatting foils to be adhered.

Lighter Materials

Another, new application comprises of a composite material of metal and glass spheres. The new material both shines and feels like solid metal, but at the same time, is remarkably light. In order to achieve this, the metal is poured into hollow glass spheres measuring 60 µm.

If the glass spheres are unevenly distributed, it results in an even surface, which feels completely smooth like metal. With an irregular distribution of the glass, the material appears as if it were marbled with veins.

Although the material is very porous, it appears completely smooth and weighs very little. With the density of aluminum of 2.7 g/cm3 is lowered to 1.2 g/cm3. With zinc from 7 g/cm3, it is reduced by more than half, namely to 3.1 g/cm.3.

The Measurement

The image below shows the particle size distribution of hollow glass spheres, which was attained using the ANALYSETTE 22 (maximum measuring range: 0.1 – 2100 µm). The measurement was carried out using a dry dispersion unit with a modified pressure at the Venturi injectors.

The measuring range was covered from 0.85 up to approximately 116 µm. During the assessment of the measuring data, the Mie-theory was used, especially in the area of smaller particle diameters for samples that have a small refractive index.

An already major deviation of the calculation according to Fraunhofer is recognizable. For comparison, a distribution curve from the Fraunhofer approximation was also drawn into the diagram.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by FRITSCH GMBH - Milling and Sizing.

For more information on this source, please visit FRITSCH GMBH - Milling and Sizing.

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