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Lead is a common alloying element in brass; however, it is also hazardous to health, making it increasingly important to manufacture lead-free alternatives. RISE, Swerim and Nordic Brass Gusum have worked together on a Vinnova-funded project to develop a new lead-free brass alloy, AquaNordic®.
This new alloy combines good anticorrosion properties and machinability with significantly improved environmental performance and lower price levels than competing products. The alloy also meets all current health and environmental requirements and has been successfully tested by a number of Nordic Brass Gusum’s customers.
A lifecycle analysis has demonstrated that the environmental impact of the new alloy is at least 30% lower than other lead-free brass materials, a figure that rises significantly when the product is compared to other materials, such as plastics. The alloy has been commercialised and is available as a product from Nordic brass Gusum.
“We have succeeded in developing a superior alternative to leaded alloys. This new brass is easy to recycle and process, as well as being cheaper than competing products. AquaNordic® is an innovation,” says Håkan Amnäs, CEO of Nordic Brass Gusum.
Among other applications, brass is used in Swedish water taps and mixers. Small amounts of lead are added to the alloy to make it more workable; however, lead is highly toxic and is therefore being phased out in the interests of public health. The new brass alloy replaces lead with ceramic particles, a process that successfully retains the machinability of the finished product.