We have rolled out a new version of its hollow glass microspheres technology that could help cut the weight of sheet-molded composites by up to 40%. In doing so, it opens up new possibilities for automotive fenders, trunk lids, door panels, and headlight assemblies.
The new hollow glass microspheres S32HS would enable sheet-molded composites to have a specific gravity roughly equivalent to that of water. By comparison, aluminum has a specific gravity about 2.5 times that of water, while titanium is 4.5 times heavier and steel is 7.5 times heavier than water. “This is a breakthrough because up until now, most sheet-molded composites have had a density of 1.2 to 1.4 grams per cubic centimeter. This allows us to get down below 1.0 (g/cc) and still have a paintable surface.
The powder-like hollow glass microspheres, made from soda-lime borosilicate glass, serve as an additive, replacing the polymer or filler material used in conventional sheet-molded composites. Because the bubbles measure just 25 µm in diameter, tens of thousands of them are typically used, even in a small part.
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