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Glass Bubbles

3M™ Glass Bubbles for injection molded plastic parts


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.

Where you can lightweight


Exterior applications for lightweight injection molded plastic parts

Exterior applications for lightweight injection molded plastic parts
  • 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

  • 9. CHMSL
    10. Lift gate trim
    11. Sensor brackets
    12. Trunk cargo storage
    13. Door sill and step assist


Interior applications for lightweight injection molded parts

Interior applications for lightweight injection molded parts
  • 1. Floor console
    2. Relay boxes
    3. Door panel
    4. Dashboard / instrument panel
    5. Glove box

  • 6. Interior trim
    7. Storage bins
    8. Mirrors
    9. Sunroof trim ring

  • 10. Grab handles
    11. Door handles
    12. Center console
    13. Seat back


Under the hood of a car plastics

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.

  • Lightweight Under the hood plastics


  • Thermoplastic Applications Include:
    • Air Filter Housing
    • Air Intake Manifold
    • Air Induction Ducts/Resonators
    • Battery Tray and Cover
    • Camshaft Covers
    • Charged Air Ducts
    • Engine Cover
    • Fuel Rail
    • Charged Air Cooler End Caps
    • Oil Pan
    • Radiator Trim, End Caps, Fan bade, and Shrouds
    • Throttle Body Cover
    • Underhood Sight Shields and Trim


Resin systems

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.

  • three piles of parts made with resin types


  • 3M Solutions can be incorporated into many resin types such as:
    • Polypropylene (PP)
    • Polyamide 6 (PA 6)
    • Polyamide 66 (PA 66)
    • Polyamide 4,6 (PA 46)
    • Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO)
    • Polyoxymethylene (POM)
    • Polybutylene terephthalate (PBT)
    • Polyphthalamide (PPA)
    • Liquid crystal polymer (LCP)
    • Polycarbonate (PC)

Weight reduction
  • Weight reduction with 3M™ Glass Bubbles

    Weight reduction

    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.

    Recommended products:

Dimensional stability
  • automotive part made with 3M Glass Bubbles

    Dimensional stability

    3M™ Glass Bubbles can improve dimensional stability of finished parts including making them more resilient against deformation from thermal changes.

    Recommended products:

  • Reduced cycle time

    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.

Thermal images of molded PP parts.
  • matte and shiny parts one made with 3M Glass Bubbles


    Incorporating 3M™ Glass Bubbles to thermoplastics parts removes the surface glossiness and provides a premium surface finish.

    Recommended products:

Ask an Expert

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.