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How are microspheres shipped?

Most of our microsphere and nanosphere products are shipped in glass vials as a free-flowing dry powder. Density Marker Beads products are shipped in an aqueous solution.

What are the shelf-life and storage requirements?

When stored in a cool, dry environment, Cospheric spherical particles have an indefinite shelf life. Containers should be kept closed to minimize contamination. Refrigeration is recommended for Density Marker Beads.

Are any materials hazardous or require special shipping?

None of our products are toxic or require special shipping. When working with particles less than 10 micron in diameter we recommed wearing a dust mask and working inside an exhaust hood to minimize the posibility of inhaling the particles. All standard precaustions of working with small particles are to be followed. All spherical particles are slippery when spilled, due to ball-bearing effect. Good housekeeping is required. We encourage customers to perform their own testing and assessment for suitability of use for their specific application.

How many spheres does the gram of material contain?

A table of calculated number of spheres per gram of material based on various microsphere diameters for glass and polymer microspheres can be found in Resources section under Spheres per Gram.

Will the spheres suspend in water without a surfactant?

This depends on the surface properties of the material the microspheres are made from (hydrophobic or hydrophillic).

  • Silica(SiO2MS)– Hydrophilic, no surfactant needed.
  • FM Series - Fluorescent Powder (FM)– Hydrophilic, no surfactant needed.
  • Soda Lime Glass (SLGMS)– Hydrophilic, no surfactant needed.
  • Borosilicate Glass (BSGMS) – Hydrophilic, no surfactant needed.
  • Barium Titanate Glass (BTGMS) – Hydrophilic, no surfactant needed.
  • PMMA – Acyrlic (PMPMS) – Hydrophilic, no or minimal surfactant needed.
  • Hollow Glass (HGMS) – Hydrophilic, no surfactant needed.
  • Silver Coated Spheres (-AG) – Hydrophilic, no surfactant needed.
  • Cellulose Acetate – Hydrophilic, no surfactant needed.
  • Polyethylene (PE)-Hydrophobic, needs surfactant.
  • Polypropylene (PP) -Hydrophobic, needs surfactant.

How do I disperse (suspend) hydrophobic microspheres in aqueous (water) solution?

Suspension of hydrophobic microspheres in water (aqueous) solution, specifically for flow visualization, Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) or biological applications require the use of a surfactant.

For non bio-sensitive industrial flow visualization applications

We recommend to use concentrated Simple Green All Purpose Cleaner (www.simplegreen.com) Cover dry spheres with concentrated simple green and let sit for approximately 5 min before dispersing in water.

For biocompatible aqueous dispersion applications:

Refer to Protocol for Preparing Tween Solutions of Hydrophobic Polyethylene Microspheres.

What are the typical applications of microspheres and nanospheres?

We regularly work with over a thousand customers from public and private organizations, national labs, universities all over the world. Most customers have unique applications targeted to their project and their industry. Here is a general overview of Microsphere Applications in Industry.