Lead free solder

Iv heard that lead free solder is an environmental disaster as the extra tin mining generates more pollution than is saved.

Anyone got a link to documented fact please.

Yes i have tried google.

I think Lead-free manufacturing is still in development stage. Lead is seriously harmful to human for sure, also all mining operations produce waste on Earth. I think we don’t need it to be documented to be sure, we are not healing Earth as fast as we are harming it.

Iv heard...

On the internet? In that case, it must be fact.

...lead free solder is an environmental disaster as the extra tin mining generates more pollution than is saved...

That may be true. But, I suspect, lead smelting makes the mining look like a freshly bathed puppy.

Lead is more abundant than tin and much easier to mine, but then I suppose the fact that tin is worth ~ten times what lead is worth is enough evidence of that. Pound for pound I would expect a lead mine to be much less destructive to the environment.

What's "lead sheltering"?

What's really interesting about RoHS is what things were exempted from the regulation:

Military electronic assemblies were exempted because it was known that lead-free solder points are more fragile (less ductile than lead-based solder), and the tin-whisker issue. In other words, because lead-free solder assembly was inherently inferior and had a shorter longevity, it was deemed unfit for military usage. But just fine for consumers, because who really needs to keep their old electronics working for more than a few years, right?

The other industry and product that was exempted was automobile batteries, which actually contain the majority of lead that is smelted today. Nobody in their right mind trashes a car battery, because you can get money to recycle it for the lead (which goes back into more car batteries).

The amount of lead that was in solder pre-RoHS was a mere pittance compared to car batteries, but it was made out to be a big deal by people who for some reason overlooked that fact, and the politicians ran with it. All it really did was make our consumer electronics worse, made a variety of other companies richer while placing a large burden on the manufacturers for retooling their assembly system (who of course passed on this increase in costs to us consumers), and ultimately likely did nothing to help the environment, because the majority of lead isn't contained within solder.

...and consumer electronics still get thrown in the garbage! Now you might say "Well, at least the solder doesn't contain lead any longer...", right? Well, ignoring the fact that as a compound the lead is in solid-metallic form (and thus isn't likely to migrate into the water table any more than natural lead would) - those boards have a ton of other chemicals and potential pollutants in them that do break down and contaminate soil and water. In fact, one could speculate that the introduction of "lead-free" construction may have made the situation worse, as now people might think that they are free to throw away those old electronics and not worry about potential lead pollution, while ignoring the real pollution issues of the other parts of the devices.

I have also read reports that lead-free solder can be more hazardous to people who work in plants that utilize it, mainly due to the more noxious fluxes that are needed when soldering with lead-free solder (vs the relatively benign fluxes used with lead-base solders - most are nothing more than pine rosin dissolved in alcohol - and while the fumes are unpleasant and shouldn't be breathed in, they aren't as bad as those fluxes used for lead-free solders).

Chagrin: What's "lead sheltering"?

A lack of quality control by Tim Cook's programmers.

The last primary lead smelting operation in the US closed its doors at the end of 2013 (Doe Run, in Missouri) because, in part, the EPA was going to force them to store their ore in enclosed buildings. So, yeah, lead sheltering would have made it look like a freshly bathed puppy ;)

Smelting lead ore isn't inherently dangerous; it's the airborne dust from handling the ore that's a problem. Lead melts around 600F and you have to get it around 1600F for vapor to become a problem.

Chagrin:
The last primary lead smelting operation in the US closed its doors at the end of 2013 (Doe Run, in Missouri) because, in part, the EPA was going to force them to store their ore in enclosed buildings. So, yeah, lead sheltering would have made it look like a freshly bathed puppy :wink:

Smelting lead ore isn’t inherently dangerous; it’s the airborne dust from handling the ore that’s a problem. Lead melts around 600F and you have to get it around 1600F for vapor to become a problem.

1600oF is about 870oC. That’s about the same temperature waste incineration furnaces work at, so incinerating lead would be a problem. Finding suitable landfill sites in the UK is a major problem. Incineration is one alternative.

Boardburner2: Iv heard that lead free solder is an environmental disaster as the extra tin mining generates more pollution than is saved.

Anyone got a link to documented fact please.

Yes i have tried google.

I don't think the calculus being employed was ever what was more polluting or not. It's what is more toxic to humans or not. Still, I like leaded solder. Damn the torpedoes!

I assume your are stating the use of lead free solder - Sn-Ag-Cu (Tin-Silver-Copper) in use for electronic soldering. If so one should be more concerned with issue related to the electrical solder joint, while this blend works acceptable for plumbing and serves the purpose for water supplies keeping lead leaching into the water at a minimal. The use of lead free for electrical purposes leads to an increase of failures in connections. Lead free solder is more prone to attack the gold or silver plating on high end circuit connections and it also has a higher fracture rate for stress joints.

As far as environmental the increased demand for Tin in modern electronics per WIKIPEDIA: "Because tin is used as solder, it is crucial to tablet computers, smartphones, and other electronic equipment. (For example, the Apple iPad uses 1-3 grams of tin, and in just two components of it there are 7000 solder points.) According to Apple Inc., tin is the most common metal used by that company's suppliers.[9]"

This has results in an increased demand for Tin world wide show greater impact to Tin mining per WIKIPEDIA: "In August 2012 cover story in Bloomberg Businessweek stated that tin mining on the Indonesian island of Bangka was becoming more dangerous and destructive as cassiterite ore deposits became harder to get to. About one-third of all the tin mined in the world has come from Bangka and its sister island Belitung to the east.[9]

As Tin ore pits become deeper, the number of lethal cave-ins has risen. Approximately one tin miner a week was killed in Indonesia in 2011 -- double the number of the year before. The low income of the miners and the mining operations -- pickaxes and buckets are often the equipment used to gather the ore, and $5 US equivalent is a successful day's work -- have meant safety measures such as terracing of pits have been ignored.[9]

Dredging for ore off the islands shores has churned up sediment which has buried corral reefs where fish live and harmed the local fishing industry. This is despite a prohibition on mining in waters within four miles of Bangka’s shore.[9] "

While Cooper, Zinc, and Lead cause the greatest output to the environment at this time, the increase in demand for Tin will add that to that list of large contributors. While lead has been sushed away from the US it has increased much greater in China, so more or less the dirt is just sweep under the rug so to say. The demand is not down do to lead free solder just not as noticeable.

spicetraders: I assume your are stating the use of lead free solder - Sn-Ag-Cu (Tin-Silver-Copper) in use for electronic soldering. If so one should be more concerned with issue related to the electrical solder joint, while this blend works acceptable for plumbing and serves the purpose for water supplies keeping lead leaching into the water at a minimal.

Electronics , iv noticed on my boiler numerous failures over the years. At elevated temp any lose component such as an electrolytic or flying lead fractures with time.

Plumbing, i used to do that, having replumbed house with lead free solder i then have to connect to the incoming lead supply pipe. Sweated joint no longer allowed so i have to use a lead lock. Said lead lock requires scrupulus cleaning of pipe not to leak generating copious grey dust often in an unventilated crawlspace.

RoSH is but one example of stupid EU law made by ignorant in the UK we have had to suffer from them for years.

Other stupid examples are the new power restrictions on vacume cleaners, hair dryers and electric kettles. This is in order to save power. Well you just have to have these devices on longer so there is no saving.

Low power light bulbs that take an age to come on. All new cars have to be fitted with headlights that come on automatically in the day time.

Also the now repealed law stating that you could not advertise bottled water as being rehydrating.

The one that gets me is that in slaughter houses you have to have a seprate set of kit and a room for meat, for sale to the public and meat being sold to restaurants.

Light bulbs, i replaced all mine with instant bery efficient led ones at some expense.

Only to discover that when used in existing fittings they overheat and have drasticly reduced lifetime.

Grumpy_Mike:
RoSH is but one example of stupid EU law made by ignorant in the UK we have had to suffer from them for years.

Some of what I see leads me to believe the EU actually has more sense than they’re often given credit for. They tend to take baby steps that, while upsetting lots of folks along the way, do seem to be focused on trying to prevent death by a thousand papercuts. (Individually small problems that add up to formidable trouble.)

There are always side effects, and many variables too complex to take into account without seeing how things play out over time. Lead-free solder definitely has its issues, but the industry wouldn’t have made that jump voluntarily. Now, there’s incentive to figure out how to make it work. Not quickly, not painlessly, but when there’s sufficient incentive (like… well… it being the law) a solution will be found.

Ultimately, will it help or hurt? Hard to say, but I respect the effort. In America, we would just go on with the cheap and easy way until it killed us.

Grumpy_Mike:
Other stupid examples are the new power restrictions on vacume cleaners, hair dryers and electric kettles. This is in order to save power. Well you just have to have these devices on longer so there is no saving.

There was a healthy debate going on over this one at EEVBlog. I can’t say I feel much sympathy for all the poor EUers. :wink: Everyone seems to feel like there will be no end of trouble now that vacuums are limited to <2kW. Well, we’ve been subject to that limitation for a long time on account that our standard wall outlets can’t provide any more than that anyway. We do just fine.

Similarly with kettles. I make tea in a single-cup boiler that takes I think 1400W, and does its job in about one minute. Now, if you’re making oatmeal for a small army, yeah it’s going to slow you down. But I assume you’re still allowed to have stoves for when you need the extra muscle?

Anyway, the most interesting aspect of those proposals is this: Not only does the EU wish to restrain the (ever-climbing) power requirements of ordinary appliances, but also to set goals for efficiency, performance, and durability. AND require that information to be posted on the product the way heating and laundry appliances do. The net result of this is that efficiency is now a tangible figure the consumer can use to make decisions, instead of being impressed by the sheer ability of the thing to consume power – whether it provides any real benefit or not.

Low hanging fruit? Big picture thinking? Willingness to piss off an entire industry for the greater good? I’ll tell ya Mike – I’ll trade my government’s faults for yours. :smiley:

Grumpy_Mike:
Also the now repealed law stating that you could not advertise bottled water as being rehydrating.

My hope is there’s more to it than that, because I agree: That just sounds stupid.

I just got an architect desk lamp and LED bulbs. The bulbs are so heavy that the lamp can only stay at one position, the worst one of course. It stands tall and won't get closer to my desk without toppling over. I am in need of lead bricks.

I'm quite willing to believe the EU is a bunch of bureaucrats passing pointless directives just for the sake of it, although proof of that seems mostly anecdotal.

On the other hand, experience shows that commercial concerns which provide virtually 100% of goods and services will do anything to make a profit, regardless of damage or injury to their employees, customers or the environment, and there is overwhelming proof of that. They seem to regard lawsuits, fines etc as just a cost of doing business.

Since we can't trust private industry to regulate themselves and behave properly, then someone else has to do it for them. In the absence of anything else, those unelected bureaucrats at least provide a counter balance to an uncompromising pursuit of profit.

SirNickity:

Grumpy_Mike: Also the now repealed law stating that you could not advertise bottled water as being rehydrating.

My hope is there's more to it than that, because I agree: That just sounds stupid.

Do you not know how dangerous Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) is! http://www.dhmo.org/facts.html

SirNickity: But I assume you're still allowed to have stoves for when you need the extra

Well if you can be sure it smokless fuelled and meets eu nox emissions and can find a building inspector qualified and willing to sign it off , yes. Provided you are not use it after 6 pm friday and you dont flush your toilet after 9 pm at night maybe.

bobcousins: Since we can't trust private industry to regulate themselves and behave properly, then someone else has to do it for them. In the absence of anything else, those unelected bureaucrats at least provide a counter balance to an uncompromising pursuit of profit.

Ok it works here , so we just buy cheap stuff from china who dont care anyway until our nice legal companies go bust. Pursuit of profit works because of the pursuit of chattels etc at least cost.

Human nature, only cure is to get rid of the humans.

Im working on it, my dalek fleet is on its way. BTW they are intel inside.

BTW they are intel inside

That’s a relief so we are safe then.

I’m quite willing to believe the EU is a bunch of bureaucrats passing pointless directives just for the sake of it, although proof of that seems mostly anecdotal.

It is not anecdotal it is there in the law. I don’t think that they think it is pointless, like all stupid people they think they are doing good and protecting us. The problem is that they seem totally incapable of understanding the consequences of new legislation.
Recently they have said that they did not mean one law to have the result of prostituting people who sold food in imperial units. Yes that is exactly what is happening.

Lead-free solder definitely has its issues, but the industry wouldn’t have made that jump voluntarily.

True because it has no advantage what so ever and that includes the imaginary environmental ones.

a solution will be found.

No it’s physics. It will be another one of those things than is just not as good these days. Remember you used to be able to get creosote, that preserved wood. The substitute stuff you get nowadays is rubbish at preserving wood, it is just that it is better than nothing.

They tend to take baby steps that, while upsetting lots of folks along the way, do seem to be focused on trying to prevent death by a thousand papercuts.

That is about their mentality. They concentrate on the little things while leaving the big things alone. There is more Lead in a single automobile battery than in a mountain of electronics. What they are concentrating is such an insignificant part of the problem, if problem there is, which is not clear.