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Lead Replacement & Sustainability
Our tungsten powders are extremely kind to the environment, owing in large part to the fact that tungsten is one of the most non-toxic metals next to gold, and a popular material for lead replacement applications and solutions. Lead replacement is important because lead is one of the most hazardous toxic substances in use today.
In fact, lead is ranked number two on the U.S. Government’s Top 100 Hazardous Substances Priority List. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has listed lead as a toxic chemical and set very restrictive threshold limits for concentrations in air, soil, water and vegetation. Lead is also under strict limitations in unleaded gasoline, paint, and general exposure in workplaces. According to this List, lead poses the second “most significant potential threat to human health”, due to its toxicity and potential for exposure. So what does this mean? It means that Lead (#2) poses a bigger risk to human health than Mercury (#3), Chloroform (#11), Cyanide (#35), Methane (#69), and Asbestos (#94), as well as a whole slew of other lesser-known chemicals. That’s why THPP is a big proponent of using environmentally-friendly tungsten as a lead replacement solution.
We also make sure that the factory environment of our manufacturers is equally kind to their trained employees, and that they utilize stringent safety precautions and practices to ensure maximum protection during the manufacturing process.
Since true sustainability affects all business practices, and because the challenge of becoming a more sustainable company lies with every employee, it is THPP’s policy to recycle non-confidential documents, thereby contributing to the health of our global environment. After all, today’s actions have a direct impact not only on our company and industry, but on our lives and those of future generations as well.
Lead Replacement Alternatives
The popularity of lead is mainly due to its outstanding physical properties: high density, malleability, and ease of casting and fabrication.
The main reason why Tungsten is such a a suitable material for lead replacement applications, is because tungsten has an even higher density than lead. However, due to its extremely high melting temperature, molding tungsten into a shape is complex and costly. Still, tungsten can be formed into solids through a process called sintering. This is where tungsten and other metal powders are pressed into shape and bound in a special furnace.
Another approach to using tungsten powder as a lead replacement is currently used by many companies that manufacture non-toxic thermoplastic composite materials. These materials are mostly used for injection molding processes and contain a variety of polymers and fillers.
Now a new approach for low-volume production of non-toxic lead replacement parts is available.
Technon® / Poly kits offer the ability to pour lead density by simply mixing Technon® powder with suitable polymers. The material can be rigid or flexible, poured or injected, cured quickly or slowly, and is available in a variety of kit sizes.
Why Use Technon® in Lead Replacement Compounds?
Technon® offers many advantages to compounders:
• Technon® has a spheroidal grain structure. This makes for a faster and better mix
• Technon® can save energy during the mixing process
• Technon® has a Tap-density of 11.75 g/cc, which is higher than any density filler material currently available
• Compounds containing Technon® are easier to inject, and better protect the injection machinery
• Technon® has a large particle size, opening the door to many new applications, uses and formulations, which are otherwise protected by patents.
Some Lead Replacement Applications of These New Materials
Ammunition: Projectiles and shots
Nuclear power radiation shielding: Temporary reactor, shielding, employee dose and reduction
Medical radiation shielding: X-ray collimators, syringe shielding, X-ray tube shielding, Bite wing X-ray, shields, radioisotope shielding containers, radiation therapy, nuclear medicine, and imaging device shielding.
Sport: Golf clubs and fishing lures.
Industrial: Flywheels, perforating liners, and cases
Weight-based: Balance weights, wheel weights, and inertia weights
Sound: Vibration dampening and acoustical dampening