Articles – Silver Solder
For ages the only way to bind metal with other metal has been to solder the two parts together. While the techniques and methods may have changed with time the general principles have not changed. What has changed, however, is how people approach the whole business of soldering. Things that once worked brilliantly are being reevaluated not only from an economic point of view but also from a safety point of view. While there are many different types of solders available – that is the material you use to bind the metal together – the most prevalent one has always been mixed with lead. There has been a move, however, to move away from lead solders and instead look at using silver solder and others in new ways.
For general purposes, silver solder is usually only really used in the making of jewelry though it does have uses in other fields as well. It is also useful where one requires a soft metal binding for any reason.
Silver solders provide great tensile strength that is comparable to that of lead but at a great loss of ductility. In the world of electronics, that is a bad thing and since solders are being used more and more in the field of electronics, this is an important aspect to take into consideration.
But why has there been a move to lead free solders after it has been used for so long? Humanity has known for quite some time that lead is a poisonous substance in even small quantities but people have been using lead solders for ages without any seriously ill effects. The problem is two-fold. Firstly lead solders are damaging to the environment in ways that we are only now really starting to understand. The second concern is the greater use of solders in every day life. Electronics of all sorts use solders for various things. Solders surround people when they use their computers, their televisions, their radios and any other electronic device.
For obvious reasons there are certain health concerns. Other solders, like silver solders, have been around as well, but with this new move they are being reevaluated for replacing lead.
The greatest problem with using other solders like silver solders instead of lead solders are the price. Lead has always been relatively cheap in comparison with some of the other solders making it the obvious choice. Another problem is the different qualities that the other solders have that might not make them as effective as solders in electronics as was mentioned before with regards to silver.
Despite these problems, there is a move towards lead free solders. New alloys and new mixtures are coming to the fore that will hopefully replace lead solders completely in the future.
It is hard to imagine just how much soldering is done in an average day. Whether silver solders or lead solder or any other one, they are used in a variety of applications. It is this prevalence of solders that is one of the main driving points of the lead-free solder movement. The Romans learned it the hard way – let us not repeat that mistake.
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