Solid and hollow glass beads have long been used in paints, coatings and plastic formulations as functional fillers: low cost commodity items that take up space and facilitate product flow to a limited degree.
Prizmalite solid glass microspheres represent a breakthrough in their significantly reduced size and higher quality specifications; specifically, their tighter distribution and consistent degree of roundness. These characteristics allow for the incorporation of Prizmalite microspheres into paints, coatings, inks or plastic formulations and result in enhanced performance and obvious aesthetic benefits.
Prizmalite’s microspheres were originally developed for application in the automotive OEM market, where no glass sphere–before Prizmalite—had ever been able to meet the stringent requirements of automotive thin film paints and coatings. Prizmalite’s original product for this market was the P2015SL but its maximum diameter of 36 microns was too large to fit within the typical automotive film build of 23 microns. Prizmalite then developed the P2011SL, whose degree of roundness and maximum diameter of 20 microns, could meet automotive thin film specifications. Most
industrial applications for Prizmalite microspheres do not have the tight product tolerances of automotive paints but, regardless of the application, all Prizmalite microspheres deliver a range of value adding benefits:
SUPERIOR AESTHETICS AND COLOR BRILLIANCE
Prizmalite microspheres act as mini magnifying glasses and because of this characteristic, they deliver a visually truer color (enhanced chromaticity) when incorporated into pigmented formulations. Surrounding pigments are magnified and their “intended color” appears richer, wetter and deeper and the same color regardless of the observation angle. Because Prizmalite microspheres enhance the effects of any additive, even mica and metallic flakes, they can be incorporated to enhance existing formulations or used as substitutes for more expensive pigments or additives while maintaining the same visual effect.
IMPACT MODIFICATION and VERSATILITY
Glass is roughly equivalent to steel on the Moh’s scale of hardness, so the presence of Prizmalite microspheres in a formulation results in greater scratch, mar and chip resistance to the coated surface.
Prizmalite microspheres easily formulate into inks, paints and coatings. They are viable in water-based, solvent-based and powder-coating applications, and formulations in which they are incorporated can be sprayed, brushed on or applied as a gel coat to a wide range of substrates.
ENHANCED PROCESS CONTROL
The spherical shape of Prizmalite microspheres promotes fluid circulation and improves process control when compared to the angular geometry of many fillers and additives they replace. Prizmalite microspheres act like miniature ball bearings or marbles on a surface: their incorporation into formulations results in less clogging of spray paint machines and the reduction of flow lines in in-mold metallic colored plastics, as well as a more even dispersion of colorants and reflectors.
In many cases, Prizmalite microspheres can replace more expensive pigments and reflectors, and because of their magnifying capability, their inclusion can achieve the same effect in two coats that using other additives requires several coats to achieve. In addition to lower material costs, Prizmalite spheres also lower costs by accelerating the ease of color matching and reducing application defects through their ball bearing effect and more consistent dispersion of ingredients. The proprietary coatings on Prizmalite microspheres can also reduce the quantity of spheres required to achieve a specific visual effect such as retro reflectivity because of the more efficient placement and dispersion of the spheres.