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Taking the Lead Out of Steel.

Univ. of Pittsburgh researchers (412-624-4238) found that replacing lead with tin can make steel more environmentally friendly. With this discovery, Anthony DeArdo and Isaac Garcia developed an alternative to the free machining steel, 12L14.

The material can also be machined more easily. It's called "green" steel and has the potential to reduce environmental control and machining costs.

Ever since governments began asking steel manufacturers to reduce their use of lead, researchers have been trying to come up with alternatives, says DeArdo. While other researchers have experimented with different steel alloys, DeArdo and Garcia studied lead. They used an atom probe field ion microscope to examine the ferrite grain boundaries of leaded steel. After they discovered what lead does at the atomic level to make steel more machinable, they decided that tin would be the most suitable replacement.

The researchers experimented with different ratios of tin to steel before/coming up with the new product. Too much tin makes the steel too brittle. Too little tin makes steel harder to machine.

Lead is a well-known pollutant that is added to steel to make it easier to machine. It also adds production costs as companies need to implement environmental controls to the manufacturing process.

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Comment:Taking the Lead Out of Steel.
Author:Sicaras, Victoria K.
Publication:R & D
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 1999
Words:202
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