What are Hollow Glass Microspheres Used For?
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The Biden administration plans to ease sanctions on Venezuelan oil to allow more of the country's crude to reach Europe.
The U.S. will allow European companies still operating in Venezuela to immediately transfer more oil to the continent, while allowing Chevron to negotiate a resumption of operations in Venezuela, according to people familiar with the matter. Venezuela's OPPOSITION, which is backed by the United States, is understood to favor the move. Tight global oil supplies have sent crude and fuel costs soaring, threatening to add to already high inflation. Increasing Venezuelan crude exports would help ease supply constraints while also helping to reduce Europe's dependence on Russian energy.
The US has sought to encourage talks between the Venezuelan government and the US-backed opposition to open the way to free and fair elections by extending a limited license held by Chevron to allow the oil company to maintain its operations in Venezuela and negotiate future operations.
The United States reportedly did not extend a permit to Allow Chevron to drill and sell Venezuelan crude, as the company had hoped.
The license extension will allow Chevron to negotiate with State-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA, with which it has a joint venture. Previously, the company could not directly negotiate with any officials sanctioned by the United States. Chevron has been lobbying the United States to allow it to drill for Venezuelan crude and sell it on world markets to help lower energy prices amid the Russia-Ukraine war.
Affected by the ever-changing international situation, the supply and prices of many commodities like the hollow glass microsphere are still very uncertain.
A hollow glass microsphere is a kind of hollow microsphere with a thin wall, high strength, and smooth surface, which is a new kind of micron-level light inorganic material developed in the 1950s and 1960s. It not only has the advantages of low density, high strength, low thermal conductivity, high wave penetration, and good stability, but also has insulation, self-lubrication, sound insulation, fire resistance, corrosion resistance, radiation, and other excellent properties that other non-metallic materials do not have.
Some byproducts of fly ash were found in the early years. Under the microscope, they were pearl-like hollow beads with diameters of 20~200μm and shell thickness ranging from 5% to 30% of the diameter. Its main components are SiO2, Al2O3, CaO, MgO, Na2O, and K2O. This sphere has a small specific gravity, high surface pressure, strong wear resistance, good flame retardant, and good acid resistance, high-temperature resistance, so it has been excavated out of the new function.
In the early stage of development, artificial hollow glass beads are mainly used in aerospace, national defense, and other cutting-edge applications due to their high cost. Later, the United States and Japan took the lead in the development and mass production of hollow glass beads.
Now, hollow glass beads are widely used in aerospace, 5G communications, military marine, lightweight vehicles, energy-conservative building, oilfield cementing, rubber and plastic elastomers, and many other fields. Specifically,
In 5G communications, hollow glass beads can help improve the transmittance due to their hollow glass material with a low dielectric constant of 1.0~2.0. It can be used to make 5G base station and radome materials, 5G mobile phone frame and backplane, Internet of things equipment, etc.
In rubber, elastomer, and lightweight vehicles, hollow glass beads have a good role in reducing the specific gravity, rubber plastic, and other composite materials can reduce weight by 8%~10%. In addition, hollow glass beads can also effectively improve the processing performance of materials, increase rigidity and resilience, improve the material heat insulation, sound insulation, noise reduction, flame retardant, and a series of special functions, widely used in shoes, elastic pillows, car shell, special parts, and other products.
In the coating industry, the micron particle size of hollow glass beads and hollow microspheres effect give the paint a better heat insulation effect. Therefore, it could be used for military and aerospace equipment, oil pipeline, oil tank, communication base stations, large storage silos, etc.
As an anti-corrosion coating, the addition of hollow beads makes the product has more excellent anti-fouling, anti-corrosion, anti-ultraviolet, anti-yellowing, and anti-scratch effect, so it can be used for weatherproof sunscreen and heat insulation outdoor coatings, automotive coatings, anti-fouling coatings, anti-corrosion coatings, etc.
In the adhesive industry, the addition of hollow beads can reduce the density of the adhesive, reduce the volume cost, improve the rheological properties of the adhesive, improve the thixotropy and chemical corrosion resistance, and give the product better sound insulation, heat insulation, low thermal conductivity, and dielectric properties, more excellent anti-warping, anti-cracking properties. Hollow beads are widely used in silicone, epoxy resin, acrylic acid, polyurethane, synthetic rubber, and other adhesives.
In addition, hollow glass beads are typically used in oilfield cementing, which has long been the most widely used field. The use of oil field cementing includes low-density drilling fluid and cementing cement.
Low-density drilling fluids added with hollow glass beads are not only more chemically stable, but also have excellent fluidity and better lubrication, which can reduce friction during drilling, extend the service life of drill pipe and drill bit, and other equipment, but also greatly improve drilling speed and operational efficiency. Hollow glass beads are added in the cementing cement products of low density, high strength, easy flow features, is to address the low pressure, easy leakage well solid water mud loss one of the main ways of low return, can effectively control the water loss rate, prevent pollution, during 24h the compressive strength can reach more than 15Mpa, and it can improve cementing quality, prolong the life of the well.
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At present, international supply chains were shocked, and logistics and transportation efficiency decreases. Geopolitical conflicts further aggravate uncertainties about the European and American economic recovery and the global commodity supply. For this reason, I assume the price of the hollow glass microsphere would not decrease significantly in the short term.