Microspheres - Fillers Filled with Possibilities
Of the many fillers now available to composites manufacturers, microspheres are the most versatile. To the naked eye the small, hollow spheres appear like fine powder. Ranging from 12 to 300 µm in diameter, microspheres pack a lot of functionality into a very small package.
Integrated into composite parts, they provide a variety of product enhancements and process improvements — including low density, improved dimensional stability, increased impact strength, smoother surface finish, greater thermal insulation, easier machinability, faster cycle times and cost savings.
Composite manufacturers, already adept at making the most of their materials, regularly exploit these benefits.
Moreover, microspheres can be used in all standard processing methods for thermoset and thermoplastic composites, including extrusion and injection molding, and have found a variety of applications across all industries.
Microspheres find end uses in applications as diverse as simulated wood furniture and lumber, fiberglass-reinforced core materials, automotive brake components and engineered syntactic foams.
(originally published 4/1/2008 in Composites Technology)