Glass Bubbles

The Lightweight Filler

Lightweight polymer compound is in high demand at the moment. New regulations on fuel consumption are part of the reason for this growth in lightweight technology, within the automotive and aviation sector at least. Hollow glass bubbles are the filler of choice for reducing the part density of thermoplastic and thermoset composites, due to the availability of the high strength “im” series. These glass bubbles can easily withstand the pressures experienced inside twin screw extruders and injection moulding machines (see the compounding guidelines brochure below). im30k and im16k are the two grades of choice for this application. See the technical datasheet below for an overview of this impressive range of products. Average particle sizes range from 15-65 microns and crush strengths from 28,000 – 250 psi respectively (90% of bubbles surviving at this pressure).

Additionally, the hollow glass bubbles lead to reduced warpage, improved scratch resistance, reduced cycle times in injection moulding – all whilst maintaining a decent level of mechanical performance when properly formulated.

Hollow glass bubbles are also widely used in anti-condensation paints, due to the low thermal diffusivity they impart to the coating which lowers the dew point.


    • The lightweight filler with true density ranging between 0.125 - 0.6 g/cc.

    • Unparalleled strength-to-density ratio.

    • Impressive range of crush strengths - up to 28,000 psi (90% survival).

    • Spherical shape.

    • High chemical stability.

    • Low thermal conductivity and diffusivity.


    • Reduces the part density of a polymer composite, or other formulation.

    • Spherical shape means a low impact on viscosity with loading.

    • Highly thermally insulating.

    • Effective volume filler in coatings and polymers.

    • Reduced cycle times in injection moulding applications.

    • Reduced VOC’s in coatings and excellent titanium dioxide extension properties.

Typical Applications

    • Lightweight polymer composites.

    • Lightweight polymer mouldings and extrusions.

    • Paints and coatings.

    • Potting compounds.

    • Adhesives and sealants.

    • Syntactic foams.

Featured grades with technical datasheets

A brief overview of the key grades is given below. You will find the Technical Datasheets (TDS) available for download. If you are looking for a Safety Datasheet (SDS) or Product Safety Information (PSI) then please get in touch by phone or via the contact buttons at the top of the page.

Should you not find what you are looking for here then please note that we have further grades available besides these. One of our Technical Sales team will be happy to help. All of the sales team are technically qualified and will be able to advise you on which product to choose. You can either call us, email us or fill in a quick form at the top of the page to get us to call you (Request a Callback). A sample can be requested via the button at the top of the page as well. Please note that by providing us with your contact details, you are agreeing for us to potentially contact you.

Related brochures & technical literature

You will find some of the key product brochures available for download below. There are more brochures available upon request. If you would like to discuss your enquiry further then please get in contact by phone or by filling in the "Request a Callback" form at the top of the page. Someone from the technical sales team will then call you within 24 hours, to discuss your project further.

3M™ Hollow Glass Bubbles Overview

An introduction to the features, benefits and applications of the Hollow Glass Bubbles range.

3M™ Hollow Glass Bubbles Overview Brochure /




Compounding and Injection Moulding Guidelines for Hollow Glass Bubbles

This brochure looks at some of the processing and engineering considerations for the successful incorporation of hollow glass bubbles into your compound.

Compounding and Injection Moulding Guidelines Brochure /




3M™ Glass Bubbles iM16k for Reinforced Thermoplastics

This technical article demonstrates how to incorporate iM16k hollow glass bubbles into PP compound and looks at the resultant properties of the compound. Benefits include lower part density, reduced shrinkage and faster cooling; resulting in improved cycle times when injection moulding, 

3M™ Glass Bubbles iM16k for Reinforced Thermoplastics Article /