NPE2012: Applications expand for 3M's glass bubbles


One of the exhibits that catches your eye when you walk into the North/South Hall at NPE2012 (Orlando, FL; April 1-5) is a fish tank with floating PVC fisherman's boots.

It's a demonstration in the 3M booth (35000) by the Kohshin Rubber Co. (Miyagi, Japan) of newly developed boots that float because the PVC is loaded with glass bubbles. "The main purpose of the lightweighting is to make it is easier for workers to get through the day," said Eiji Tashima, a member of the planning section at Kohsin Rubber. He spoke to Plastics Today through an interpreter.

PVC, with a specific gravity of 1.2, is heavier than water. A loading of 15% glass bubbles makes the material light enough to float. The new boots are 20% more expensive than the standard boots....

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