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Prepare to say farewell to an old friend
A historical article in which Martin Hickman writes about the proposed changes to regulations on Solder that came into force during 2006…
The words ‘Health & Safety’ produce a reaction in most people. To some they are a modern day curse in that they prevent the cutting of corners and may reduce profits. To others they are a means of challenging management and a means of achieving an easier life. Somewhere between these two extremes and misuses lies common sense which has certainly made the world a safer place. One of the current ‘hot issues’ is the concern regarding levels of lead in the environment and the effect on our health. In recent years we have seen the demise of lead additives in petrol, the production of lead free paint and a wholesale reduction of fittings containing lead used in the plumbing industry.
A new initiative is now on the horizon but advancing quickly. By 2006 it is intended that solder regulations will be introduced to ensure that lead will be removed from the vast majority of electronic components and processes and in particular from solder. Now most of you will know that for countless years solder has, for all purposes, been made from a mixture of lead and tin, that for electronics use it is usually 60% tin and 40% lead, sometimes with traces of copper, etc. All this will go!
Hobbyists are not required to go lead free, and lead-containing solder can still be used by amateurs after that date, so at the moment there are no plans to stop the manufacture of standard 60/40 tin lead flux cored solder.
New alloys are being tried such as; tin/silver, tin/silver/copper, tin/copper, tin/zinc. So how do the new alloys perform and what are the implications?
Having experimented with lead free solders a little, I can share with you a few results.
However, there is nothing like trying it for yourself! If anyone cares to write in and say how they got on and whether or not they agree with my findings, it would be interesting to hear.
You might also care to visit our other soldering information pages. The Soldering home page provides links to other resources including a detailed Soldering Tutorial, a Soldering Quick Fix page, a Soldering Troubleshooter, and even an article on the effects of forthcoming Soldering Regulations.
If you are seeking further information on Soldering but cannot find it here, please email email@example.com and we will try to both answer your question and make sure that the information is made available through these pages for future reference.
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