As demand continues for lighter weight materials in the vehicle, compounders and automotive OEMs can be more confident than ever in a tried-and-true solution: lightweight thermoplastic parts containing 3M™ Glass Bubbles. They are high-strength, hollow glass microspheres that are easily incorporated into many thermoplastic resins. With crush strengths up to 16,000 pounds per square inch (psi), 3M Glass Bubbles can withstand the pressures of the injection-molding process despite their low density. The result: parts can be 15% lighter than thermoplastic produced with conventional fillers.
1. Front end modules
2. Grille opening reinforcement
3. Headlamp housing
4. Quarter panel trim
5. Air inlet panel / cowl screen
6. Sunroof and shade
7. Roof ditch molding
8. Fix glass encapsulation
10. Lift gate trim
11. Sensor brackets
12. Trunk cargo storage
13. Door sill and step assist
1. Floor console
2. Relay boxes
3. Door panel
4. Dashboard / instrument panel
5. Glove box
6. Interior trim
7. Storage bins
9. Sunroof trim ring
10. Grab handles
11. Door handles
12. Center console
13. Seat back
3M™ Glass Bubbles can be used to lightweight many injection molded plastic parts used under the hood. In addition to making the parts more lightweight, 3M™ Glass Bubbles also help reduces the coefficient of linear thermal expansion meaning the parts are less likely to expand and contract with temperature changes. This reduces part warpage over time.
3M™ Glass Bubbles can be incorporated into a wide range of resin systems. They can displace higher-cost resins for cost savings and be tailored to meet a wide range of specifications in finished parts.
3M™ Glass Bubbles can help you reduce part weight by as much as 15% in nearly any thermoplastic resin (PP, PA6, PA66, PUR) vs. conventional fillers such as calcium carbonate.
3M™ Glass Bubbles can improve dimensional stability of finished parts including making them more resilient against deformation from thermal changes.
When mixed with other materials, the low density of 3M™ Glass Bubbles result in a reduction of overall volumetric heat capacity, shortening the time for the part to cool by 15-25% and yielding lighter weight parts at faster rates.
Learn more about how Ford in conjunction with 3M found savings and improvements in both cycle time and
processing conditions with lightweight thermoplastic parts.
Read how Ford Motor Co. lowered cycle times and improved processing conditions while still meeting stringent specifications for plastic parts.
3M supports our Glass Bubbles with global sales, technical and customer service resources. Contact us for more information, including formulation assistance or questions about a specific application.
Learn how 3M(TM) Glass Bubbles can help you with automotive lightweighting and many other challenges across the entire vehicle.
Learn more about the 3M(TM) Glass Bubble grade with a density of 0.46 g/cc and an isostatic crush strength of 16,000psi (110MPa), providing excellent strength-to-density ratio for injection molding.