Two millennia and two decades later, we are at the prelude of entering another age—the ‘Silicon Age .’ And one of the greatest hallmarks of this ultramodern industrialized age can be underpinned by the increasing extravagance in the use of advanced materials—an elite class of materials, including metals, ceramics, gels, polymers and composites.
Today, the applications of advanced materials can be found across the length and breadth of our daily life—from the smallest chip of an electronic device to the largest building made by man; from the common paper-bag to the titanium shell of a space ship; from the clearest glass to carbon black. The reason for its ever-increasing popularity, one may ask?
Advanced materials outperform conventional materials and contain properties that are far superior, including more toughness, hardness, durability, and elasticity. They can hold novel properties, including the ability to memorize shape or sense changes in their environment and respond to those changes. The development of advanced materials can even lead to the design of completely new products, such as medical implants and pocket-sized computers.
Despite the understanding of these behemoth advantages, the current time-to-market for new classes of advanced materials is far too slow. For instance, the lithium ion batteries used in portable electronic devices were first conceptualized in the mid ’70s, but it was only after the 1990s when its mass manufacturing and broad market adoption were seen. What’s needed is a company that can not only produce out-of-the ordinary advanced material to outpace the competition but also do it within a tighter deadline.
3M’s extensive portfolio of advanced materials is uniquely suited to survive and perform in many of today’s most challenging applications and environments. “We are steadfastly helping our customers in automotive, nuclear power, plastics processing, oil and gas, defense, and many other industries to find new ways to turn ‘what’s possible’ into ‘what’s next,’” mentions Mike Roman, CEO of 3M.
The Gateway into the Future of Ceramics Technology
Lightweight and intrinsically hard, ceramics are uniquely suited to the challenges of these demanding applications. In that regard, 3M’s advanced ceramics are adept to resisting heat, chemicals, and corrosion better than other metals and plastics. And thus, from smart cars to the smart grid, 3M’s advanced ceramics are known for driving innovation in some of the world’s some of the most technologically-advanced industries like transportation, oil and gas, fuel cells, electronics, and even space exploration.
For example, 3M’s advanced ceramics are helping industrial facilities reduce maintenance downtime by improving equipment reliability.
Behind The Curtains Of These Exclusive Offerings, The Diverse Team At 3m Play A Significant Role In Shaping The Company And Propelling It To The Helm Of The Advanced Materials Sector
One of the crown jewels of the company’s advanced ceramics offering is the Nextel™ continuous filament ceramic oxide fibers. The Nextel series represent a major advancement in refractory fiber technology. These metal oxide fibers can be readily converted into textiles that can meet demanding performance requirements of high temperature operating environments. Additionally, the fibers have low elongation and shrinkage at operating temperatures, which allow for making a dimensionally stable product. These novel fibers also offer good chemical resistance, low thermal conductivity, thermal shock resistance, low porosity, and unique electrical properties. And because the filaments are continuous and strong, ceramic oxide textiles can be produced without the aid of other fibers or wire inserts.
Expanding the Freedom of Product Design with Fluoropolymers
Sold under the brand name of Dyneon, 3M’s high-performance family of fluorinated elastomers, fluoroplastics, and polymers are used in a wide variety of industries to enhance performance and productivity, and to improve the longstanding design standards of the industry.
From deep underground to the Alpine mountainside, from industrial plants to the engine of your car, and even in your kitchen, 3M Dyneon fluoropolymers take on the toughest jobs around. These floropolymers are used to produce seals and parts that survive heat, harsh chemicals, and bone-crushing pressures. Alongside, its application in low-permeation fuel hoses helps reduce automotive emissions. Even non-stick coatings for household cookware make use of 3M’s Dyneon fluoropolymers to make them durable yet elegant.
products is the Dynamar polymer processing additives for better surface quality, less waste, increased productivity and smoother processing when manufacturing extruded plastic products. All that’s needed is an amount of Dynamar polymer processing additives and manufacturers can bid goodbye to their common issues such as die build-up and melt fracture usually seen during the production of a variety of extruded products like plastic bottles to construction materials such as pipes, cables and even artificial grass.Complementing the Dyneon range of
We Are Steadfastly Helping Our Customers In Automotive, Nuclear Power, Plastics Processing, Oil And Gas, Defense, And Many Other Industries To Find New Ways To Turn ‘What’s Possible’ Into ‘What’s Next
3M is also the producer of unique high-strength, low-density hollow glass microspheres made from soda-lime borosilicate glass. They are nonporous, chemically stable and provide excellent water and oil resistance. These glass bubbles go far beyond just being lightweight; their inherent properties make them strong enough to survive a number of unique performance and processing advantages. By leveraging 3M glass bubbles, the manufacturing world can open a new portal to the futuristic products. For instance, the automotive companies can use them to build lighter-weight vehicles that can travel farther on less fuel. The oil and gas companies can orchestrate more efficient ways to drill for oil and insulate deep sea pipelines. Adjacently, the paint industry can create a new formula for paints that helps keep homes cooler on hot, sunny days. All in all, 3M glass bubbles hold the potential to help a wide range of industrial sectors solve their design challenges and reach new levels of performance and productivity.
Setting the Course for Future Success
Behind the curtains of these exclusive offerings, the diverse team at 3M plays a significant role in shaping the company and propelling it to the helm of the advanced materials sector. Likewise, the 3M team also fosters a very collaborative mindset when working with its clients and helping them realize their true potential. As Roman notes, business landscape is always changing, and it is prudent to keep a finger on the pulse on the industry trends. On that note, last January, 3M launched a new global operating model—a significant step in the company’s transformation—which has evolved the way 3M works, enabling the company to be more customer focused and responsive, helping 3M to lead during the pandemic. This way, the company will be able to further enhance its operations and be better positioned to take advantage of global market trends in e-commerce, personal safety, health care, automotive electrification, and home improvement.
Moving ahead, 3M will also continue improving and validating its critical technology components that are still in development. By continuously leveraging the power of its people, technology, and strategic partnerships, 3M will keep building up its capabilities and pushing the boundaries of possibility in materials science.