The UK has hallmarking laws that govern the minimum amount of silver that must be present in solders for joining sterling silver. The minimum quantity is set at 65% silver. Many other countries allow solders with lower silver content of 55%. Higher silver solders usually have higher melting and working temperatures, which require higher levels of skill to use and can cause distortion and deep firestain in the piece being soldered: this can lead to increased and expensive finishing costs. Lower silver content solders offer lower melting and working temperatures, however a disadvantage is a decrease in the whiteness of the solder, which causes solder seams to become clearly visible on finished pieces, thus limiting the creative scope of the designer/maker. \ud \ud Silver solders for jewellery and silverware have remained the same for at least 75 years. The challenge of this research was to provide solders that:\ud \ud - conform to UK hallmarking laws \ud - are easy to use, with low temperature flow properties that are normally found in the lower silver content solder alloys\ud - have a good white colour to match the colour of Argentium Silver\ud - have good tarnish resistant properties \ud \ud The patent granted from this research and the commercial alloys produced by Stern-Leach in the USA derived from over 40 individual solder alloys, made and tested at Middlesex University. A range of paste solders has also been developed for furnace soldering operations.\ud \ud Current work is being conducted with designer/makers in best utilising these new solders
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