Purdue to Analyze Lead Use in Military Electronics

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Purdue University has been named by the U.S. Department of Protection to co-lead a project to reduce the reliance on lead used in consumer electronics by the military. The university offers been awarded $1 million through the first yr of the multi-year project to accelerate the transition to lead-free electronics in aerospace, defense and other high-performance consumer electronics.

Purdue, the University of Maryland and Auburn University will lead the consortium’s Lead-Free Defense Electronics Project, which has received $40 million to be distributed over a period of five to seven years.

The university says consumer and automotive electronics have already been transitioning to lead-free technologies since 2006, however the DoD has been slow to handle the issue.

“Because of this worldwide changeover, all advanced electronics are lead-free and also have evolved to be used in increasingly demanding conditions,” said Carol Handwerker, Purdue professor of products engineering and a principal investigator for the Lead-Free Defense Electronics Project.

Because of concerns about reliability, defense and aerospace companies possess continued to use lead-containing electronics, lagging in back of commercial sectors which may have made lead-no cost technological advancements on compliance with lead bans.

“The purpose of this project is to close the gaps - quantifying the conditions where advanced lead-free electronics can and cannot be used in protection systems and guiding their implementation,” said Handwerker.

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the extent to which the U.S. got outsourced the making of vitally needed medical equipment with electronic elements. The consortium says security weapons systems and significant infrastructure could face comparable supply-chain challenges if nothing is done to improve course.