Microspheres, also referred to as microparticles are small spherical particles, which have diameters ranging from one to thousand micrometers. Microspheres are powders that are biodegradable in nature and are manufactured from various synthetic and natural materials such as polymer microspheres, glass microspheres, and ceramic microspheres. The method involved in the preparation of microparticles includes spray drying and cooling, solvent extraction, and quasi emulsion solvent diffusion. Floating and hollow microspheres differ extensively in density and therefore, used for various applications. Hollow microspheres are usually used as additives to lower density of a material. Floating microspheres have numerous applications depending on its material and size.
The medical and biotechnology applications of microsphere materials include drug delivery systems, embolization, skin treatments, and bulking agent. Lightweight materials and syntactic foams are extensively used in the aerospace sector, making aerospace the largest application segment in the market. Also, growth of the drilling activities, has resulted in an increased demand for microspheres, as it helps improve mud lubricity and control the essential torque of the drill machine. This makes microspheres essential to the oil & gas industry.
The demand for the retro-reflective feature and lower specific gravity of microspheres, has resulted in its use of manufacturing paints that are used in the road signs. Microspheres are majorly used in the milling and grinding of various minerals and pigments in the cosmetics and personal care products industries. Growth of the cosmetics & personal care end-use industries, especially in the emerging economies of India and China, creates a highly lucrative environment for growth of the global microspheres market.
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North America is the largest and fastest-growing market for microspheres in the world, owing to rampant growth of its end-use industries such as medical technology, automotive, oil & gas, and aerospace. Asia-Pacific is the second fastest-growing region due to burgeoning growth of life sciences & biotechnology, and paints & coatings end-use industries in the region.
Product innovation is one of the key strategies adopted by the leading players in the microspheres material market, with BASF and Trelleborg at the forefront of innovation. BASF has developed innovative microsphere-based admixture technology for freeze-thaw durability eliminating the need for air-entrained concrete. Trelleborg has also developed Eccofloat—hollow glass microspheres to meet deep-sea buoyancy requirements for subsea applications. Some of the major companies operating in the global microspheres materials market are Trelleborg, BASF, Phosphorex, Pylote, Potters Industries LLC, 3M Company, AkzoNobel, Dennert Poraver GmbH Luminex Corporation, Chase Corporation, Expancel, Sigmund Lindner GmbH, and Momentive Performance Materials Inc.
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