X-ray analysis of tin solders aids RoHS/WEEE compliance

The hottest topic in the electrical and electronic industry for some time has been the introduction of several directives with the same implications, the Chinese Administrative Measure on the Control of Pollution Caused by Electronic Information Products, the European Union (EU) and Japanese RoHS and WEEE directives. These regulations restrict the presence of lead, and other elements, in electrical and electronic equipment to a maximum of 1000 ppm. In practice, this has been translated in the most part, into a need to use lead-free solder alternatives.
Identifying lead-free solder alternatives has not been easy. Favoured candidates include tin with bismuth and tin with copper and/or silver. This article describes the analysis of lead in tin-based solders for RoHS/WEEE compliance using a new RoHS/WEEE variant of the well-established MiniPal 4 energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF) spectrometer (PANalytical b.v.). In addition, data for the analysis of bismuth, copper, silver, arsenic, nickel, selenium and zinc are reported, since these elements can be of importance for checking the total composition of the solder.

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