Articles – 4% Silver Solder

4% Silver Solder

Soldering is an important skill that has been used for ages and is still being used today. Originally it was used to bind various metals together – most notably the pipes in plumbing applications – but as time passed and technology increased, the usefulness of soldering became more. In almost every electronic device in existence the circuits are soldered into place. Your computer, your microwave, your television, and nearly every other electronic device have some soldering in it. With all this solder surrounding us it is no wonder that there is a movement to replace lead solders with other like 4% silver solder.
People have known for a long time that lead, in any quantity, can be dangerous to a person’s health and downright poisonous. The Romans learned this the hard way with their aqueducts that used lead pipes and even more contemporary plumbing discoveries started to replace lead as a material for any kind of plumbing.

It may seem silly to consider the solder in various electronic devices dangerous but when you consider the high concentration that a room full of electronic devices could reach – it becomes a little scary. Lead-free solders, like 4% silver solder, may be the answer to a safer world for everyone.
Lead has been used as the general components of solder for a long time. It was plentiful, relatively inexpensive and had all the qualities that someone would want from a solder. Lead was durable while being easy to work with. Lead has not been the only component of solders, though. 4% silver solders and other precious metal solder alloys are used in jewelry making while various other soft metals like tin are used for a numerous other applications. With a movement towards lead-free solders, however, these other, for lack of a better word, ‘specialized’ solders now needs to be refined to work with almost anything.
The replacement comes at a price. The new solders need to be refined for their new uses.

On the same note, components in electronics need to be redesigned to work with the new lead-free solders. Without lead in the equation the ductility, strength and general hardiness of the solder changes dramatically and all these changes need to be taken in consideration. It is not an impossible task, but a hard and frustrating one for those that have been working with lead solders all their lives. While it is true that reengineering 4% silver solders to take the place of lead solders will benefit everyone – it still remains hard work.
It seems that the days of lead solders are numbered when 4% silver solders and all its other metallic friends start taking over being the major players when it comes to soldering. While the change is certainly not going to happen overnight and while the change will not be completely smooth; one day lead-free solders will be the norm and people will wonder how their ancestors could even have considered using lead in the first place. Pretty much the same way we think about the Ancient Romans using lead for their plumbing.

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