3M™ Glass Bubbles S32HS are hollow glass microspheres engineered from water-resistant, chemically-stable soda-lime borosilicate glass. These performance-enhancing polymer additives are used to create high-strength, low-density composite parts and syntactic foams for use in the automotive, marine, heavy truck, aerospace, oil and gas industries.
Engineered to Provide High Strength and Low Weight for Demanding Applications
3M™ Glass Bubbles S32HS are hollow glass microspheres used to reduce density while maintaining high strength. They are engineered from water-resistant and chemically-stable soda-lime borosilicate glass to create lighter parts, improve thermal insulation and provide other functional benefits in demanding applications. Their spherical shape and moderate hardness help reduce wear in production equipment. In many applications, 3M™ Glass Bubbles are a superior alternative to conventional fillers and additives such as silica, calcium carbonate, talc and clay.
Glass Bubbles in Automotive and Transportation Manufacturing
3M™ Glass Bubbles S32HS are performance enhancing polymer additives used to create ultra-lightweight parts with Class A paintable finishes in the automotive, marine, heavy truck and aerospace industries. When used as a filler in sheet or bulk molded composites, they can help reduce final part weight by up to 40 percent without compromising mechanical integrity.
Benefits of Glass Bubbles
3M™ Glass Bubbles S32HS offer a number of competitive advantages over traditional polymer fillers like silica, calcium carbonate, talc or clay. By replacing conventional fillers, these hollow glass microspheres can help reduce the weight of molded parts by up to 40 percent. With a density of 0.32 g/cc and an isostatic crush strength of 6,000 psi, the S32HS glass bubbles can help reduce composite density below 1.0 g/cc without sacrificing mechanical integrity or surface aesthetics. Furthermore, the unique spherical shape of these glass bubbles allows for higher volume loading while maintaining workable viscosity and contributes to the production of Class A paintable surfaces.
A Lighter Future
A typical automobile has about 300 kg (661 lbs) of composite parts that contribute to vehicle weight. With electric and high efficiency vehicles becoming more popular, reducing that weight is key to staying competitive. By integrating 3M™ Glass Bubbles into sheet and bulk molded composite parts customers can significantly improve a vehicle’s fuel economy or battery range. In some cases, using ultra-light composite parts may even be more cost effective than aluminum in the right applications.
Glass Bubbles in the Oil and Gas Industries
3M™ Glass Bubbles S32HS are used for density reduction, thermal insulation and buoyancy in syntactic foams to help oil and gas equipment survive deepwater conditions. The high pressures and low temperatures of deepwater environments combine to increase viscosity and deposition, restricting flow and placing enormous demands on flowlines, risers and critical equipment. As oil and gas recovery operations move further offshore, low-density and thermally insulating materials are key to ensuring reliable product flow.
3M™ Glass Bubbles S32HS are virtually insoluble in water, making them ideal for offshore applications. Used as a raw material in syntactic foam, they help prevent flow issues caused by demanding deepwater conditions. Unlike conventional pipe-in-pipe flowline constructions that are bulky, heavy and too costly for increasing depths, wet pipe and riser insulation made with 3M™ Glass Bubbles S32HS are:
3M™ Glass Bubbles S32HS are available in a wide range of pressure ratings and densities compatible with most resins – increasing their utility as an additive in syntactic foams. When formulated with resin, the S32HS glass bubbles produce syntactic foams with a high strength-to-density ratio ideal for use in buoyancy modules, buoys or buoyancy blocks for undersea vehicles. Syntactic foams made with these bubbles provide high net buoyancy and achieve maximum buoyancy in the deepest waters.