3M™ Glass Bubbles Enables First-Ever, Ultra Lightweight Sheet Molded Composites with Class A Paintable Surfaces for Automotive Manufacturers

Source: Business Wire / 3M

3M

3M Glass Bubbles S32HS breaks the density barrier in Sheet molded composites at <1.0 g/cc, enabling the potential to replace metal components.

“With the trend toward electric and high efficiency cars, reducing overall vehicle weight is key to staying competitive,” said Ray Eby, vice president of 3M Automotive Electrification. “A typical automobile has about 660 lbs. of composite parts. With ultra lightweight Sheet molded composites enabled by our glass bubbles, OEMs can significantly improve a vehicle’s energy usage, while saving money– one less bump in the road in the race to automotive electrification.”

3M Sheet Molded Composites

3M Glass Bubbles S32HS helps OEMs achieve up to a 40 percent weight reduction of composite parts, at a density below 1.0 g/cc, while still enabling a class A paintable finish. (Photo: 3M)

For many years, 3M has partnered with the automotive industry to enable weight reductions for major automotive manufacturers. By replacing conventional fillers, these hollow glass microspheres can reduce the weight of molded parts without sacrificing strength or aesthetics. For the first time, 3M has been able to break the density barrier, making ultra lightweight Sheet molded composites more competitive to steel and aluminum, opening up new possibilities for the material mix in automotive applications.

“Our customers continue to challenge us to lower the density and weight of fiberglass reinforced material systems to support their automotive lightweighting efforts,” said Terrence O’Donovan, vice president, marketing and sales for Core Molding Technologies. “A density of 1.0 g/cc or below has long been a goal, while still enabling a Class A finish. Using 3M Glass Bubbles helps enable us to meet our customers’ expectations.”

3M glass bubbles are an established lightweighting technology used in enabling lightweight sealants, injection molded parts and Sheet molded composites. 3M continues to be at the forefront of automotive lightweight material innovation with the launch of Glass Bubbles S32HS.

To learn more about lightweighting Sheet molded composites, please visit 3M.com/SMC or to learn more about 3M Automotive Lightweighting Solutions, please visit 3M.com/AutoLightweighting.

3M is a trademark of 3M Company.
All other trademarks listed herein are owned by their respective companies.

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