Glass Bubbles for Sheet Molded Composites

3M™ Glass Bubbles for sheet molding composites

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Sheet molding composites (SMCs) are well known for being more light weight than metals or other types of composite materials. Now, compounders and resin suppliers can produce SMC parts that are up to 40% lighter, enabling ultralightweight composites that replace heavier steel and aluminum body panels, hoods, trunk lids and more. That’s because 3M™ Glass Bubbles – tiny, hollow glass microspheres added to resins in SMC production – are engineered to withstand the requirements of the sheet molding process despite their low density. Best of all, they help enable your parts to meet OEM requirements for Class A paintable surfaces.

Automotive body with each 3M solution shown for interior and exterior applications.
    1. Trunk bed
    2. Trunk lid
    3. Sunroof frame
    4. Sunroof curtain
    5. Glove box and interior compartments
    1. Engine hood
    2. Front trunk bed
    3. Noise reduction parts
    4. Headlight assembly
    1. Front end module
    2. EV battery housing
    3. Door panels
    4. Structural SMC
    5. Side body molding

Lightweighting sheet molding composite components

  • Exterior components
    Exterior components

    Weight reduction: 3M Glass Bubbles can enable densities below 1.0 g/cc and a total SMC component weight reduction of 45%, making ultralightweight SMC parts a replacment for metal in more places on the vehicle.

    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 – making SMCs/BMCs a replacement in many more places on the vehicle.

    Recommended products:

  • Interior components
    Interior components

    Weight reduction: 3M Glass Bubbles can enable densities below 1.0 g/cc and a total SMC component weight reduction of 40%, making SMC parts a replacement for metal in more places on the vehicle.

    Recommended products:

    Pictured: Lightweight SMC panels made with 3M Glass Bubbles.

3M Glass Bubbles calculator thumbnail

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.

Calculate now
Zoomed in shot of 3M™ Glass Bubbles
Ready to try it out?

For your sample of 3M Glass Bubbles for sheet molding composites, click below.


Lightweighting sheet molding composite resources

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

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  • 3M™ Glass Bubbles for Automotive
    3M Glass Bubbles for Automotive

    Learn how 3M Glass Bubbles can help you with lightweighting and many other challenges across the entire vehicle.