Cenosphere is used widely for various Industrial applications due to its excellent composition properties. Cenospheres are the by-product of coal combustion at the thermal power plant. They are lightweight, inert, and hollow spheres that are largely made up of alumina and silicate. The colors of the Cenosphere vary from gray to white depending upon the type of coal used for the combustion process. They have a density of about 0.4–0.8 g/cm3 (0.014–0.029 lb/cu and are filled with inert gases which gives them great buoyancy.
The properties of Cenospheres allow them to be used for various Industrial purposes. The tiny ball of fly ash is useful because of its mechanical strength, small size, low density, high melting temperature, and thermal insulating properties. In particular, Cenosphere are ideal for providing thermal insulation to coatings or paints and imparting properties of resistance to corrosion. Cenospheres are multifunctional in nature and can be used as binders for thermosetting and thermoplastics. Here are the uses of Cenospheres in various Industries.
1) Cenospheres in OilField
Cenosphere plays an important role in Oil & Gas Industry as they are used as additives in drilling when drilling boreholes, wells, and oceans for the extraction of oil. Cenospheres can increase the strength and intensity of drilling by 50% when added appropriately. Furthermore, Cenospheres are used for plugging oil and gas wells. They are also used for filling the expansion between the wellbore. While constructing the oil tanks, Cenospheres are mixed with cement solution to provide a hardening material that provides stable and heat-insulating capacities. It is further used in the manufacturing of acid-grouting compounds, lightweight grouting mixtures, gas condensate wells, liquids for damping of oil and gas. Industries and Technologies, a French industry journal states that “Cenospheres been used for several years in the field of oil drilling to reduce the density of a petroleum cement paste without increasing the water content.”
2) Cenospheres in Plastics and Polymers
Cenospheres are one of the widely used components in the manufacturing of plastics and polymers. It is further used to re-formulate the shape of plastics as they possess strength and low shrinkage properties. In recent times, Cenospheres are also used as a sheet molding compound. It proves cost-effective than aluminum and calcium carbonate which was earlier used for vehicle application.
3) Cenospheres in Construction Industry
Cenospheres are one of the most used components in construction. Due to its low weight and low density, it can replace sand which is primarily used in construction. Cenospheres provide a strength of 30 MPa at a density of 1.6 T / m3, and prove to be useful additives to concrete. It can reduce the sound transmission by 40%. Cenospheres provides thermal insulation properties to ceilings, wall and floors thus it is widely used component in construction. New means and methods are also introduced in the construction industry to build versatile cenospheres by-products. For example, magnetic cenospheres are used in the methane oxidation process to form the new catalyst.
4) Cenospheres in Syntactic Foams
Cenospheres are specialized solids that are used to make ‘syntactic foams’. They add strength, buoyancy, soundproofing, and thermal protection to the syntactic foams. Syntactic foams are resistant to hydrostatic pressure and are prominently used in subsea buoyance applications. They are considered ideal for hardball floats and Oceaneering projects. Cenospheres when used in syntactic forms, provide structural integrity and strength to the product hence they are considered best for defense and civil engineering applications.
5) Cenospheres in Biomedical/Pharmaceuticals
Cenospheres are widely used in clinical applications such as in dental prosthetics and epitheses due to their polymers-ceramic composition. They are considered best to accelerate wound healing as they have silver oxide coating on their outer surface which when reacted with drugs give excellent results.
For medical applications, carbon fibers are modified in the presence of the Cenosphere to obtain a ceramic-carbon composition. This combination is used to reduce the risk of postoperative complications to lower the weight of orthopedic implants. Cenospheres have superior chemical resistance and high-temperature stability. They can be composed of ultra-high performance polymers to serve for medical applications. In biomedical applications, Cenospheres are combined with bioactive gases and ceramics to enhance the capacity of the drug. Since Cenospheres are porous in nature they can expand their diameter between the range of 10 and 100 microns thus they are the best carriers of therapeutic agents.