A common name for glass or ceramic compounds that are physically formed into microscopic spheres. Microballoons, or microspheres, are finely divided, free-flowing particles that have high strength. The soft, white powder is used as low density extender in plastics and adhesives. Microballoons are also used in industry for filtration systems, as containers for radioactive traces, for thermal insulation layers in nonwoven fabrics, and to form a protective layer over liquid surfaces. In conservation, they have been added to resins to decrease the weight of large filled regions. Examples are:
- K1 Scotchlite glass bubbles [3M]: made from soda-lime/ borosilicate glass;
- Zeeosphere: made from a white opaque ceramic.
Synonyms and Related Terms
microsphere; microballoons; glass sphere; microesferas de vidro (Port.); Scotchlite [3M] glass bubbles; Zeeosphere [3M]; Microballoon Filler [Top Flite]; 410 Microlight [West Systems]
Insoluble in water
Hazards and Safety
Noncombustible. Skin and eye contact can cause irritation.
Sources Checked for Data in Record
- Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
- Conservation Support Systems, Catalog, 1997