Crush Strength Analysis of Hollow Glass Microspheres

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Virginia Tech

Porous Wall Hollow Glass Microspheres (PWHGMs) were developed by the Savannah River National Laboratory. What makes these microspheres unique is the interconnected porosity spread throughout their wall allowing various materials to travel from the surface to the hollow interior. With their characteristic porosity, the PWHGMs are a great tool for encapsulating or filtrating different materials. Unfortunately, there is little information available on the mechanical properties of PWHGMs.

The main goal of this research was to develop a method to crush individual microspheres and statistically analyze the results. One objective towards completing this goal was to measure the microsphere diameter distribution. Microsphere diameter is a major factor affecting strength as well as the Weibull parameters. Two different methods, microscopy counting and laser light scattering, used in the research yielded similar distributions.

The main objective of this research was to analyze the crush strength of individual microspheres. Using nanoindentation, data were collected to analyze the crush strength of PWHGMs in uniaxial compression. Nanoindentation data were used to analyze how the strength of the PWHGMs changes through the different stages of production and at different diameter ranges. Data for 3M commercial microspheres were compared to ARC microspheres. Most data were analyzed using a statistical technique known as the two parameter Weibull analysis. The data indicated that the strength generally decreased as the microsphere diameter increased. Scattering in the data was nearly the same across all sample sets tested. Results indicated that the PWHGMs were weaker than the ARC hollow glass microspheres (HGMs). This is primarily due to the addition of wall porosity in the PWHGM.

Porous Wall Hollow Glass Microsphere, Nanoindentation, Weibull Analysis, Crush Strength, Microsphere Size Analysis