Use of Hollow Glass Microspheres in Emulsion Explosives

Hollow Glass Microspheres


In the face of rising expenses and reduced prices of commodities, the mining industry is facing hurdles in a bid to reduce costs and work on improving productivity at the same time. PETRA MicroLite GM, used as a sensitizer in emulsion explosives, allows you to deal with this hurdle, by generating more powerful, durable, and controllable explosions. The choice of the sensitizer is important in ascertaining the performance of an explosive charge, allowing for the presence of internal voids which are essential to effective detonation.

are utilised in the making of emulsion explosives and even to reduce the density of plastics. In terms of emulsion explosives, these hollow glass spheres are used in creating glass micro balloons that have a diameter of 50-60 um along with extremely thin walls. These characteristics gave rise to the assumption that these balloons will be disseminated into the air and will also lead to penetration in the lower respiratory tract.

Why is it Used in Emulsion Explosives?

There has been a lot of research in the field of emulsion explosives in order to understand how to enhance its performance as well as stability and one of the most important features to do this is to adjust the density. Density can be adjusted by using density modifiers but the drawback is that it is difficult to do it with other materials as sometimes the size is not appropriate, sometimes the durability is in question, and sometimes the resistance to liquid is negligible.

With the advent of hollow glass microspheres, these issues can be easily resolved and it further enhances the performance of the emulsion explosive detonation as well as the stability in terms of storage. Initially, the US and Britain were amongst the few countries that used hollow glass microspheres as density modifiers but since it was a costly affair it could not have universal application. But now these glass micro balloons have increased availability and also can be domestically made. The addition of these balloons enhances the sensitivity of detonation by altering the base of the emulsion.

How does it Work?

These hollow glass microspheres balloons have very thin walls and use sodium borosilicate in the process which allows the sphere to encompass gas and further allows for the adjustment of density. It also has minimal thermal conductivity and resistance to liquids such as oil and water thus they can be used as sensitizers in emulsion explosives. That is particularly what PETRA MicroLite GM does and allows for a detonation with high velocity.

The hollow glass microspheres allow for uniformity in terms of a durable formation when incorporated in the emulsion explosives. The microspheres further provide what is called adiabatic compression and channelize the process of detonation by directing the mechanical energy to increase the temperatures at burning points. Further, the emulsion explosive in itself is supersaturated in nature and has a high density and with the addition of these microspheres, this density is control as it has a diameter of 10um to 150 um. Further, with the addition of what are called cenospheres, these microspheres then act as stabilizers that keep afloat.


The hollow glass microspheres when added to emulsion also enhances the flow of the emulsion since it is a small sphere which when placed together has a ball bearing effect which then enhances the mobility and helps in the reduction of the viscosity which then reduces the stress that is present on the mixture. The heat produced is also less with its use and prevents the issue of reduced lubrication and thermal decomposition. It further eliminates a lot of defects and also enhances efficiency in terms of production. The hollow glass microspheres further take up less surface area and are uniformly disseminated in the emulsion mixture. Due to characteristics that allow compression and easy integration, it allows for an increased loading of fillers and also cuts down on operational costs. The hollow glass microsphere also adds economic value by increasing the volume. The density of hollow glass microspheres offers high performance as the density is only a fraction of the resin. The biggest advantage is that even a small quantity of hollow glass microspheres is easily able to substitute for heavier materials. When considering the cost per unit volume, rather than cost per unit weight, high-performance hollow glass microspheres can significantly reduce cost. The use of PETRA MicroLite glass microsphere is a perfect fit for the enhanced performance of emulsion explosives at reduced costs.

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Hollow Glass Microspheres