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.
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.
[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]
3M Glass Bubbles can improve dimensional stability of finished parts including making them more resilient against deformation from thermal changes.
[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]
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.
Read how Ford Motor Co. lowered cycle times and improved processing conditions while still meeting stringent specifications for 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
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 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.
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.
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.
Learn how 3M can help you with lightweighting and many other challenges across the entire vehicle.
Learn more about the 3M 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.