Everything about Microspheres
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  • Particle Image Velocimetry – Particle Density and Neutral Buoyancy

    Density of particle vs. density of fluid:

    Silver Metal Coated Hollow Glass Microspheres

    Many flow visualizations are done in water but there are a variety of other liquids and even water based solutions that will have differing densities whose velocity fields are being mapped or will be in the future. Therefore, having seed particles to match these differing densities is important to provide neutral buoyancy, one of the most important factors regarding flow conformity.

    With polyethylene spheres contributing a range of densities that provide neutrally buoyant tracers for most water fluid flows thought needs to be directed towards furnishing tracers to match other densities. Gasoline and similar carbon based fluids are an example of areas of fluid flow mechanics where lower density tracer particles are necessary. Silver Coated Hollow Glass Microspheres have the density range to potentially work for many carbon chain liquids, with current densities ranging from .15 g/cc to .75 g/cc and possibly higher. This leaves some room for improvement in the densities between .75 g/cc and .96 g/cc.

    There are many options available for neutrally buoyant microspheres in water. While, other fluids may have more difficulty finding an ideal density tracer, there are options available and scientists are working to provide more unique and targeted tracer particles for use with low density fluids.

  • Particle Image Velocimetry – Particle Size and Distribution

    Particle size:

    Particle size is connected to many of the other parameters of seed particles in a PIV system. With size affecting visibility, flow conformity, and being integral in relation to pixel size. A rough number for ideal particle size is 1-100um though sizes in the nm and mm’s have been used for certain PIV applications. With smaller sizes being necessary for micro-PIV methods and larger sizes being a requirement for large scale flow visualization. The importance of size is related to how truly the tracer will follow the flow with particle diameter having the largest effect on stokes number, which is a representation of flow tracer fidelity. Though when particle size becomes too small it can be difficult to confirm that the tracer is not being affected by minor currents or other factors within the fluid. Also as size decreases visualizing the spheres can become quite challenging. However, the stokes number can provide a decent representation of how well particles follow the flow. Though, the stokes number is an approximation based on assumptions and therefore can only provide a useful representation rather than a confirmation of tracer fidelity.

    Particle size distribution:

    Fluorescent Red Polyethylene Tracers

    A parameter that should be considered in conjunction with particle size is distribution. As particles in the sizes used for PIV are so small that no meaningful quantity of tracers can be produced in a specific size and rather size ranges need to be considered. With tighter size distributions, there will be less error attributable to differences in visibility of particles and a better approximation of how well each particle being used will conform to the flow. For example fluorescent red polyethylene has multiple size ranges available (10-22um, 10-45um, 10-90um, and 10-150um). With tighter size distributions being more difficult to obtain and as such being more expensive. Raising the question of what the trade off between price and size distribution is. Wide distributions can be used within PIV, however they may necessitate further image processing and may reduce accuracy of measurements. Therefore, there is no perfect size distribution choice. Though, with the understanding of what is available the choice of a correct size and size distribution can be determined.

  • Particle Image Velocimetry – Intro to Tracer Particle Parameters

    PIV is a vast field with varying techniques and differing areas of research. Techniques vary from 2D PIV, only viewing velocity in a plane of the fluid system, to high speed TOMO PIV which views a 3D area of fluid and can be time resolved allowing for acceleration data to also be obtained. Another difference is that the size of liquid PIV set-ups can range from micron sized micro channels to multi thousand-gallon tanks. While the area being imaged may not vary as much as the

    Barium Sulfate Tracer for X-ray imaging

    systems themselves, it can still differ from units of micro meters to potentially meters. With viewing windows growing as new advancements in science and technology progress, the need for seed particles to match them will grow. One example of this is the rise of helium filled soap bubble seeders that provide an easily visualized 300um bubble for air systems allowing for large areas to be seeded and visualized. Or barium sulfate polyethylene microspheres which are useful due to being a radio contrast agent allowing for visualization via x-ray imaging.

    Therefore, a one solution fits all approach is not feasible when it comes to seed particle selection. As each experiment will have differing size, density, light intensity/visibility, particle material, and seeding concentration needs based on desired results.

  • Fluorescent Glass Microspheres

    Fluorescent Red Coated Soda Lime Glass MicrospheresSolid glass microspheres hemispherically coated with fluorescent coatings,  a fluorescent coating is precisely applied to half of the core sphere,  making the glass spheres appear colorful and fluorescent at daylight and exhibit bright fluorescent response under UV light.  Fluorescent coatings are available in seven standard colors, with three options for glass cores available for customers who require a fluorescent tracer of a specific emission spectra and density.  Fluorescent coatings can also be applied to other microsphere cores on special request, exact size range options vary by material.  For PIV applications that typically use green lasers (530nm) as excitation sources, we recommend utilizing our fluorescent red coating in conjunction with a 570-580nm high pass filter so only the fluorescent particles will be visible during imaging.

    Three standard core densities are:

    Borosilicate Glass Core – Density ~2.2g/cc
    Soda Lime Glass Core – Density ~2.5g/cc
    Barium Titanate Glass Core – Density ~4.5g/cc

    Seven standard fluorescent color coating options on glass with broad spectrum responses:

    Fluorescent Blue Glass (445nm peak emission) at 407nm excitation
    Fluorescent Green Glass (515nm peak emission) at 414nm excitation
    Fluorescent Yellow Glass (525nm peak emission) at 485nm excitation
    Fluorescent Orange-Yellow Glass (594nm peak emission) at 460nm excitation
    Fluorescent Orange Glass (606nm peak emission) at 577nm excitation
    Fluorescent Red Glass (607nm peak emission) at 585nm excitation
    Fluorescent Violet Glass (636nm peak emission) at 584nm excitation

  • Negatively-charged Yellow Microparticles – Back in Stock

    Highly Negative Charged Microspheres - Polyethylene, Selection of Sizes 5 to 500um

    Highly Negative Charged Microspheres - Polyethylene, Selection of Sizes 5 to 500um, 1.0g/cc

    Cospheric’s neutrally-buoyant highly charged yellow microspheres have a strong negative charge and are used by scientists in medical technology, biotechnology, applied physics and research. Precise particles with known density of 1.0g/cc that behave in a known way are useful as a model particles in simulation experiments.  Particles in a range of diameters from 5micron to 500micron(0.5mm) are currently back in stock.

    Bright yellow polymer microparticles of high sphericity are spherical polyethylene beads that are specifically designed with density ~1.0g/cc for suspension in fresh water,  serving as seed or tracer particles and enabling flow visualization and Particle Image Velocimetry PIV analysis of fluid flow in a device. It is often advantageous to color code the particles by size to better understand which part of the process the spheres of the specific size were able to pass through, or where the contamination in the process is coming from. Microspheres are supplied in dry powder form and are color stable in solution. No solvents are used in the manufacturing process. Polyethylene is inert to most solvents.

    Cospheric also offers unique capability to manufacture Bichromal janus microspheres and microparticles with partial coatings and potentially dual functionality. Currently half-shell or hemispherical coatings can be applied to any sphere (glass, polymer, ceramic) in sizes 45micron in diameter and higher. Coatings can be customized for any color and coverage of between 20% to 60% of the sphere. Each coating is custom formulated for color, charge, magnetic, electric, and surface properties, and solvent resistance per customers’ needs. Hemispherical coatings of less than 1 micron with tolerances as low as 0.25 micron have been routinely demonstrated.  Color combinations are truly unlimited. White, black, silver, blue, green, red, yellow, brown, purple as well as transparent microspheres have been made. Sphericity of greater than 90% and custom particle size ranges are offered.

    It would be interesting to combine these highly charged yellow microspheres with a partial paramagnetic black coating and investigate the behavior of these spheres in electromagnetic field.