Expancel Microspheres came about as part of a research collaboration in the mid-1970s. The team created microspheres that could expand to up to 60 times their original size without increasing in weight. Today we are a world leader in thermoplastic microspheres.

The microspheres that expand your horizons

For almost 40 years, we have continuously pioneered new products and new usage areas for Expancel Microspheres. You’ll find them in a huge array of products around the world – from the paint on your walls to the car you drive, the shoes you walk in  and the packaging that protects your food.

Expancel Microspheres is the secret ingredient that gives leading products the edge. If something looks better, feels better or performs better, it might well contain Expancel.

Watch the video below to learn more about Expancel Microspheres and what it can be used for.

From small microsphere to big idea

It’s a simple concept – a small thermoplastic microsphere encapsulating a gas. Add heat and the gas expands while the shell softens. The result is a dramatic increase in volume and billions of new possibilities. Expancel has dual functionality as both a lightweight filler and a blowing agent. When you need to cut manufacturing costs, reduce weight, create attractive textures, protect against damage or shield against the elements, Expancel Microspheres delivers.

Expancel Microspheres expand when heated

Expancel Microspheres expand when heated.

 

 Unexpanded and expanded Expancel Microspheres in microscope

Unexpanded and expanded Expancel Microspheres in microscope.

A microsphere for every need

Expancel Microspheres is available either expanded or unexpanded. Both types can be supplied in wet or dry form. We also have masterbatch. This means our microspheres work in systems with or without heat or water. We offer a variety of chemical compositions to give expansion at different temperatures.

 A range of particle sizes makes it possible to achieve numerous surface effects, including matting, smoothness and roughness. The very low density gives a significant weight reduction even at small dosages of our microspheres.

The 7 forms of Expancel Microspheres

Expancel WU Wet, unexpanded microspheres
Expancel DU Dry, unexpanded microspheres
Expancel SL Slurry, unexpanded microspheres dispersed in water
Expancel MB Masterbatch, unexpanded microspheres mixed with a carrier
Expancel WE Wet, expanded microspheres
Expancel DE(T) Dry, expanded microspheres
Expancel FG Microspheres for food packaging applications

Expanding where it counts

Expancel Microspheres are marketed all over the world via our headquarters in Sweden where we also have R&D and production. We have 14 sales offices across the world and, in addition, a worldwide network of distributors that enables us to meet the demand wherever it arises. To efficiently cover the American and Asian markets, we have production units in Duluth, USA; Jundiaí, Brazil, and Suzhou, China.

Our microspheres in product development

Expancel is more than a microsphere. It’s a commitment to continuous improvement and business success for the long term. Because every product – and every process – has unique demands. That’s why we strive to be an expert product development partner, not just a supplier.

Our sphere of expertise

Expancel thermoplastic microspheres were invented in the mid-1970s. Since then, we’ve been refining the most effective ways to make our microspheres work in diverse applications across numerous industries. Achieving the full potential of microspheres demands the best brains in the business. Brains that understand business goals in addition to chemistry and processes. We know how to achieve the best results for your production process and your business. You can be assured of all the advice, support and hands-on technical assistance you need to make things run smoothly and profitably.

Bringing Expancel Microspheres closer to your business

As a product development partner, we are constantly searching for new ways to make our microspheres work better for your business. We aim to make it a seamless and cost-effective part of your operation.

One of the innovations this has led to is our unique onsite expansion system. This patented, high-capacity system makes it simple to expand Expancel Microspheres on your own premises. It gives you greater flexibility and significantly reduces your purchase and shipping costs, helping ensure that Expancel Microspheres is the best solution from every perspective. Contact your local representative to learn more about our microspheres and onsite expansion system.

Expancel Microspheres - lightweight filler and blowing agent in one

Lightweight filler and blowing agent in one

Expancel Microspheres is a lightweight filler and blowing agent all in one. Its high performance in these two functions opens up a world of surprising possibilities. Using Expancel Microspheres improves the properties of your product, and also enables considerable savings in the cost of materials, production and finishing, handling and transportation. For manufacturers, it means economy, consistency and control. For consumers, it means quality and satisfaction.

The lighter side of performance

Expancel Microspheres can significantly reduce the weight of a product while creating the look and feel needed for an attractive product. As a lightweight filler, it can achieve very low densities. Our standard expanded microspheres (Expancel DE(T) and WE) have densities as low as 25 kg/m³ depending on product. This is much lower than, for example, glass microspheres. Even small proportions of Expancel Microspheres will reduce the density of the end product to a significant degree. Binder demand is low, so the amount of binder in the end product can be reduced with no loss of desired properties.

Reducing binder also saves costs. Expancel Microspheres is used as a lightweight filler in many applications today, including elastomeric cool roof coatings, paint, cultured marble, underbody coatings and sealants, polyester putties and many more. Its many benefits include cost reduction, low density, flexibility, sandability and a smoother surface with no pinholes.

Perfecting the structure

Unexpanded Expancel Microspheres is an excellent blowing agent that gives a highly controlled foaming, resulting in a fine and uniform cell structure. You can avoid the use of chemical blowing agents and achieve excellent performance at low viscosities. Expancel Microspheres can also be combined with chemical blowing agents if required.

Expancel Microspheres is used as a blowing agent in many applications today, including shoe soles, wine corks (plastic and agglomerated), printing inksfood packaging and weather strips for cars. As a blowing agent, Expancel Microspheres delivers many essential benefits, including a fine cellular foam structure, outstanding stability during processing, shorter cycle times and an attractive surface finish.

Contact us about Expancel Microspheres

We are here to help.

We have an R&D organization with the capabilities and expertise to maximize the benefits of Expancel Microspheres in your application.

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