Microspheres are solid spherical particles available in sizes ranging from one to 1000 µm. Microspheres are classified based on raw materials used such as glass, ceramic, fly ash, polymer, metallic and others. Metallic microspheres consist of glass and ceramic as ingredients and are used in automotive materials, aerospace and defense materials, biotechnology, construction, coating additives, cosmetics and oil and gas consumables. Structural categorization of microspheres includes hollow or solid. Major application of metallic microsphere is to provide EMI (electromagnetic interference) shield to circuits and devices. Silver coated microspheres are electrical conductors providing advantages of metal coating coupled with core microspheres. A typical example includes hollow glass microspheres offering low density filler and conductive particle properties when coated with silver. Another application includes retro-reflective microspheres used on billboards and hoardings that are illuminated by headlights. Retro-reflective microspheres are solid barium titanate glass microspheres coated with half shell aluminum. The sphere is coated in hemispherical area with a thin aluminum shell which produces bright retro-reflective responses directed back to the light source. Metallic microspheres are made from molten metal which is poured in an orifice which is passed through an electric field resulting in formation of uniform metallic balls. Numerous other variations to the existing method have been done but the basic principle remains same.
Increasing demand from existing and other upcoming application areas is expected to boost the market demand for metallic microspheres over the forecast period. Metallic microspheres posses superior structural properties coupled with reusability and recyclability properties which is further expected to drive market demand. Increasing demand for efficiency as a result of rapid infrastructural development coupled with modernization will fuel growth of metallic microsphere market. However, metallic microspheres consists of metals which have a restricted supply resulting in high degree of price fluctuation is expected to be a potential restraint for the market. Additionally, higher costs incurred during research and development will also pose a challenge to the existing industry participants.
Key companies in the market include TRELLEBORG AB, Sunjin Chemical Co. Ltd., Sinosteel Maanshan Institute of Mining Research Company Limited, Sigmund Lindner GmbH, Polysciences Inc., Phosphorex Incorporated, Momentive Performance Materials Inc., Mo Sci Corp, Merit Medical Systems, Inc., Induchem Holding Ag, EKO Export SA, Dennert Poraver Gmbh, Cospheric LLC, AkzoNobel N.V., and 3M Company.
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