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Injection molded part for 3M Glass Bubbles banner

3M™ Glass Bubbles for injection molded plastic parts

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The same great plastics. Just lighter and produced faster.

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  • Demand continues for lighter weight materials in the vehicle. Which is why 3M Glass Bubbles are available in select grades for lightweight thermoplastic parts. These high-strength, hollow glass microspheres can replace heavier fillers commonly used in a wide range of thermoplastic resins such as polypropylene (PP), polyamides, thermoplastic olefin (TPO), polycarbonate (PC) and many more.

    3M Glass Bubbles feature crush strengths of up to 16,000 pounds per square inch (psi). They are specifically formulated to withstand the pressures of the injection-molding process with minimal breakage. As a result, parts can be up to 15% lighter than those produced using conventional thermoplastic fillers, while maintaining standards for dimensional stability, warpage resistance, dielectric performance and surface finishes.

    Lightweight thermoplastic parts can also be produced faster and more cost-effectively – 3M Glass Bubbles can reduce cooling time by as much as 25% after injection molding. Let’s talk about your needs for lightweight thermoplastics.

    Download our brochure: 3M Glass Bubbles for Injection Molded Plastics (PDF, 487 KB)

Discover the full benefits of thermoplastics with 3M™ Glass Bubbles

Weight Reduction
  • scale with parts made 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.

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Dimensional Stability
  • [MUSIC PLAYING] Glass bubbles help auto parts keep their shape, also known as maintaining dimensional stability. It means that parts won't significantly shrink, expand, or warp. Because glass doesn't expand or contract like plastic, you can count on glass bubbles to provide a better fit and finish to plastic parts, especially when the parts are fitted closely together. Glass bubbles not only help maintain auto part appearance but when formulated properly, they can also help achieve dimensional stability. [MUSIC PLAYING]

    Image representing 3M Glass Bubbles helping with dimensional stability video

    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
  • [MUSIC PLAYING] 3M's Glass Bubble technology withstands challenging automotive manufacturing processes. During injection molding, the hollow glass bubbles displace heavier plastics and fillers that allow auto parts to cool faster. Faster cooling means faster processing. Faster processing means reduced energy usage. Reduced energy usage means lower costs and lower carbon footprint. And all of this means saving money because more parts per minute means higher productivity. [MUSIC PLAYING]

    Image representing 3M Glass Bubbles helping to reduce cycle time video

    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 (PDF, 713 KB ) in both cycle time and processing conditions with lightweight thermoplastic 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:


Customer applications and technical resources

Where you can lightweight


Exterior applications for lightweight injection molded plastic parts

White car with doors open to show 3M's exterior solutions and applications.
  • 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 of the front seat of a vehicle to show 3M's interior solutions and applications.
  • 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 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 resins
  • 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)
A desktop computer with a graph/calculator to calculate how much weight you could save with 3M glass bubbles
Calculate how much weight you could save with 3M Glass Bubbles.

See how 3M Glass Bubbles can help you reduce the density of your compound formulations, leading to lighter weight parts. This weight volume calculator allows you to compare your reference compound formulation with lighter formulations that use 3M Glass Bubbles.

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3M Glass Bubbles are supported with global sales, technical and customer service resources. Contact us for more information, including formulation assistance or questions about a specific application.