In some applications, sheet molding composites (SMCs) are used as a replacement for heavier composite materials or metals in automotive designs. 3M Glass Bubbles – tiny, hollow glass microspheres that replace the dense fillers commonly used in SMC production – can enable ultralightweight SMCs and Class A paintability to replace heavier steel and aluminum body panels, hoods, trunk lids and more.
3M Glass Bubbles are available in grades that withstand the high isostatic pressures in the sheet molding process with minimal breakage. In fact, SMC can now be as much as 45% lighter than standard density SMC. Let’s talk about your needs for lightweighting SMC automotive parts.
3M Glass Bubbles can enable densities below 1.0 g/cc and a total SMC component weight reduction of 40 - 45%, making ultralightweight SMC an option as a replacement for metal parts in more places on the vehicle.
Pictured: Standard density SMC panels weighing 2.5 kg/5.5 lbs can be reduced to 1.8 kg/4.0 lbs using 3M Glass Bubbles.
Class A paintable finishes: While fillers can sometimes affect the final part surface, compounders and resin suppliers can still produce lightweight SMCs with a Class A Paintable finish.
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.
1. Trunk bed
2. Trunk lid
3. Sunroof frame
4. Sunroof curtain
5. Glove box and interior compartments
6. Engine hood
7. Front trunk bed
8. Noise reduction parts
9. Headlight assembly
10. Front end module
11. EV battery housing
12. Door panels
13. Structural SMC
14. Side body molding
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 can help you with lightweighting and many other challenges across the entire vehicle.
To reduce weight of heavy battery packs in Battery Electric Vehicles, composite materials, like SMC, are being used as the enclosure or cover in place of steel or aluminum. This opens up new opportunities for lightweighting with 3M Glass Bubbles.
Thank you for your interest in lightweight sheet molded composites leveraging 3M™ Glass Bubbles. A 3M representative will be with you shortly.
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