Hollow glass microspheres are currently commercially available in sizes of up to 0.2mm, but not larger. William Mathews et. al offer a potential solution for producing larger hollow glass microspheres in patent 3,838,998.?? They present a method which would enable the production of hollow glass spheres in sizes up to 5mm in diameter.?? As can be seen in the details of the patent, the process is quite complex, and seems to only offer pilot production capability, which would reason why we do not currently see hollow glass spheres in the 0.2-5mm range.
PROCESS FOR FORMING HOLLOW GLASS MICRO-SPHERES FROM ADMIXED HIGH AND LOW TEMPERATURE GLASS FORMERS
A process for forming hollow glass micro-spheres with walls of controllably variable thickness in a size range of 50 to 5,000 microns, embodying (1) preparation of a water slurry of finely particulated, high temperature and low temperature glass formers; (2) prilling the slurry in a vertical spray drying tower; (3) separating and supporting the individual prilled feed material; (4) heating the feed material to glassification of the high temperature glass former while maintaining appropriate geometry and shell thickness and (5) cooling the finished product. The high temperature glass former is preferably a naturally occurring soda feldspar. The process is particularly adapted to form thicker walled micro-spheres of larger size and high quality.