Pictured: untreated glass spheres (left) and treated glass spheres (right).

Sheet molding composite

Tough Class A (TCA) Ultra Lite from Continental Structural Plastics (CSP) is a 1.2 specific gravity (SPg) sheet molding composite formulation that provides engineers the ability to design with a lower specific-gravity material without sacrificing mechanical properties, surface qualities, and adhesion requirements. According to CSP, depending on the body component being developed, design studies have shown that TCA Ultra Lite offers a weight savings of up to 21% over the company’s mid-density TCA Lite (1.6 SPg), and 35% over its industry-proven standard TCA material (1.9 SPg). Ultra Lite technology uses treated glass bubbles to replace some of the CaCO3, allowing the resin to adhere to the matrix and increase the interfacial strength between the bubble and the resin. Approved by major automotive OEMs, this material is programmed for a production vehicle beginning in January 2015, claims CSP.

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