Due to the hazardous properties of lead to human health and environment, governments from different countries published restrictions toward applications of leaded brass — present in fabricating gate valve and tap faucet for water supply system.
Most of the traditional free-cutting brass contains lead and the main designations include HPb59-1, HPb63-3 etc. Among them HPb59-1 is the most widely used brass in fabricating gate valve and tap faucet for water supply system. However, lead is easily leached from brass in the water.
Lead content in copper alloy and leaching amount in drinking water were strictly restrained in America, Japan and European Union. Thus, utilisations of leaded copper will face rigorous limit and development of lead-free copper alloy to replace leaded brass becomes important task for non-ferrous metallic material manufacturers.
Many studies were performed to add Bi，Si，graphite to replace Pb in Cu-Zn alloy by which several environmentally-friendly and free-cutting brass including Bi series, Si series and graphite series were developed. In the review, development of lead-free brass was summarised.
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