3M Glass Bubbles for Communications Infrastructure

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Crush Strength (Metric)

Typical Density

Typical Median Particle Diameter

3M™ Glass Bubbles S3240-VS 3M™ Glass Bubbles S4630
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Reduce signal loss and boost data transfer speeds

Special grades of 3M™ Glass Bubbles can be used in 5G electronics. Their excellent dielectric properties can help you optimize your signal integrity in copper clad laminates, electrical connectors, radomes and more.

  • Microscopic image of 3M glass bubbles
    The spherical shape of 3M™ Glass Bubbles provides key advantages over irregularly shaped fillers.

    3M™ Glass Bubbles for use in 5G electronics

    • Strong signals and high data transfer speeds are the twin pillars of 5G device design. Network infrastructure is processing huge quantities of data at record rates – with materials struggling to keep up. In terms of mitigating signal loss and supporting high speed data transmission, conventional materials for copper clad laminates (CCLs) used in printed circuit boards are quickly reaching their limits.

    • Optimize your signal integrity with special grades of 3M™ Glass Bubbles that can be tailored to the unique needs of 5G electronics. With an extremely low dielectric constant (Dk) of ≤ 1.5 and a low loss factor (Df) of ≤ 0.005 at 10 GHz, they can help you target dielectric properties to meet your precise design requirements. Small bubble sizes, minimal impurity levels and low thermal expansion enable consistent, controlled design and quality that is essential in the 5G space.

    • 3M™ Glass Bubbles can be added to materials used in high frequency 5G electronic components: copper clad laminates in printed circuit boards, electrical connectors, radomes and more.

Benefits at a glance

  • Low loss material

    • Enable fast, reliable data transmission

      Push the limits of what’s possible by adding 3M™ Glass Bubbles to your 5G device materials. With an extremely low dielectric constant (Dk) of ≤ 1.5, you can maximize data transfer speeds in your end application. With a low loss factor (Df) of ≤ 0.005, you can boost signal-to-noise ratios and support high frequencies with low signal power. 3M™ Glass Bubbles can even help you achieve smoother CCL surface profiles and mitigate PIM at high frequencies.

    Image alt text: Exploded view of copper clad laminate

    • See how 3M™ Glass Bubbles can help you tailor CCL resin systems and other materials to target specific Dk and Df values. At 60% volume in an epoxy resin, a Dk of 2.07 and Df of 0.0132 can be achieved (properties are measured at 10 GHz). Multiple material requirements, not just Dk or Df, will help you determine the best content level for your application.

    3M™ Glass Bubbles dielectric constant comparison chart and 3M™ Glass Bubbles dissipation factor comparison chart

    • Scale showing lightweight benefits of 3M glass bubbles compared to alternative material
      3M™ Glass Bubbles (right) volume difference compared to mineral fillers of higher density (left).

      Lose weight, not signal power

      • 3M™ Glass Bubbles have long been used to reduce component weight and manage material costs across a range of industries: automotive, aerospace and more. With special grades for use in electronics, these benefits can be extended to 5G applications.

      • With a true density as low as 0.32 g/cm³, 3M™ Glass Bubbles can help you achieve tight density control and significant lightweighting. In radome covers as well as plastic and composite device components, you can reduce final part weight by 15–40%, all while optimizing signal integrity. In CCL materials, you can partially replace expensive resins and save significant costs.

    • Improve dimensional stability and reduce CCL delamination

      Due to their hollow structure, 3M™ Glass Bubbles possess a very low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE). They can help you control thermal expansion in CCLs by tailoring the resin system CTE to better match the CTE of copper. This allows the dielectric and conductive layers to expand and contract in tandem, improving dimensional stability and reducing delamination between layers.

    Graphic showing layers of a copper clad laminate and where delamination could occur.

    • See the effects of 3M™ Glass Bubbles on the CTE of a PPO resin at various content levels. In-plane (XY-axis) and through-plane (Z-axis) data are shown. At 55% volume, a CTE of 69 μm/(m⋅°C) in-plane and 158 μm/(m⋅°C) through-plane can be achieved. Multiple material requirements, not just thermal expansion, will determine the best content level for your application.

    Effects of 3M™ Glass Bubbles on the in-plane and through-plane CTE of a PPO resin at various content levels chart.

    • Graphic depicting the processability benefits of 3M™ Glass Bubbles compared to other materials.

      Built tough to withstand high pressure processes

      • In addition to low loss properties and lightweighting capabilities, 3M™ Glass Bubbles are compatible with a range of high shear, high pressure manufacturing processes. Featuring high crush strengths of up to 16,000 psi (110 MPa), they can be compounded and injection molded with glass fibers for reinforced composite parts. This makes them an excellent choice for plastic and composite device components with complex geometries.

      • Unlike irregularly shaped fillers, 3M™ Glass Bubbles are spherical and roll easily over one another. This can help you increase volume loading capacity and lower resin demand while reducing shrinkage and warpage in molded plastic parts.

Key resources for 3M™ Glass Bubbles in 5G

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See how 3M can help you solve tough signal transmission challenges and design the future of 5G telecommunications.

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