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pB-Free: The Craze Has Begun
Kirt's Cogitations #65

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   Cog·i·ta·tion [koj-i-tey'-shun] – noun: Concerted thought or reflection; meditation; contemplation.
   Kirt [kert] – proper noun: RF Cafe webmaster.

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pB-Free: The Craze Has Begun

Motivated by reports of lead leaching into ground water from landfills, some manufacturers of electronic equipment have begun using lead-free solder processes. Japan is at the forefront with a year 2003 target for 100% lead-free soldering. Europe is targeting 2006, and N. America has a voluntary compliance date of 2004. Studies in N. America show no increase in ground water lead content after 50 years, but Japan claims increases. The most common lead-free solder in use today is Sn-3Ag-0.5Cu, which melts at 219°C. 63Sn-37Pb melts at 183°C. Paradoxically, net environmental impact could be worse for lead-free due to the increased fuel-fired energy required to run oven soldering equipment! Some analysts predict the industry will abandon lead-free solder by 2008, due to minimal environmental impact and much more difficult processes and costs. Storage batteries use 79.0% of all lead mined, while electronics solder uses only 0.6%

 

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