Due to strict lead recycling regulations put upon discarded automobile engines, removing lead from new automotive engines became essential. Removing lead found in batteries from discarded automobiles is fairly straight-forward and inexpensive; however, much labor and cost is associated with removing lead containing engine bearings. Due to the relatively light loading applied to automotive gas engine bearings, lead-free aluminum alloys have been developed. Many experts predict that this lead-free trend will carry over to non-automotive bearings as well. Many of these non-automotive engines are run on diesel fuel and have much higher loading on the bearings. The current generation of lead-free aluminum alloys just cannot carry the loads required by these engines. Therefore, there has been efforts on developing lead-free copper based bearing alloys. This paper reviews one process that was undertaken to develop lead-free copper based alloy to be used in these highly loaded, non-automotive lead-free engine bearing types. This process included a fundamental understanding of the tribological role of lead in copper based bearing alloys, as well as a thorough performance screening of lead-free bearings types based on this lead-free lining and a comprehensive review of the test results. Also included in this paper are some future development plans in the world of lead-free copper based bearings alloys.

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