Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


For decades, low levels of lead have been added to many free cutting steels and some heat treatable engineering steels to improve their machinability. The EU directive on end of life vehicles prohibits the recycling of vehicle components containing heavy metals, including lead, although currently there is an exemption from the requirements of this directive for steels with up to 0.35% of lead. Hence, there is a significant interest in alternatives to lead that are technically and commercially viable. The objective of the project was to investigate technically and commercially viable alternatives to lead in free cutting and engineering steel grades. The steel grades selected were 11SMn30, C45 and 16MnCr5 with machinability enhancing additions. The work involved assessing the performance of steels with alternative machinability enhancers, both in the laboratory and under production conditions. This work has confirmed that leaded steels have generally shown the best performance in tests at lower cutting speeds with high speed steel tools and in deep hole drilling. Non-leaded alternative grades generally gave poorer chip form and surface finish. It has been shown that, of the alternatives, bismuth is able to substitute for lead under certain conditions, although the cost of the addition may take it uneconomic, particularly for large-scale application. Calcium can also substitute in C45 steels for use at higher cutting speeds. Steels containing tin generally did not show good performance. The alternative grades generally showed equivalent fatigue performance to the leaded grades.

Additional information

Authors: D’ERAMO E, Ascométal CREAS, Hagondange (FR);REYNOLDS P E, CORUS UK Limited, Rotherham (UK);ROCHER M, Ascométal CREAS, Hagondange (FR);D�ERAMO E, Ascométal CREAS, Hagondange (FR);LANGNER H, Robert Bosch, Stuttgart (DE);HOCKAUF W, Robert Bosch, Stuttgart (DE);ESSEL I, RWTH, Aachen (DE);FRITSCH R, RWTH, Aachen (DE);BUELTE R, RWTH, Aachen (DE);BLOCK V, Saarstahl, Völklingen (DE);ELVIRA R, Saarstahl, Völklingen (DE)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 21912 EN (2005), 162 pp. Euro: 25
Availability: (Catalogue Number: KI-NA-21912-EN-S)
ISBN: ISBN 92-894-9927-3
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