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The variation of alloying elements within a certain standard induces a severe modification of metallographic characteristics. This has an effect on the material behaviour, such as precipitation hardening, machining or anodization. The impact of element variation or element combination in individual alloy specifications is still a focal point of materials research. The influence of element variations and substitutions on material properties is discussed on the basis of alloy development and technology optimization of lead-free machining alloys. Present investigations have shown that tin as a lead substitute provides the required machinability and impairs the anodization behaviour only marginally. Examination of the precipitation behaviour after solution heat treatment and quenching confirmed the cause of an incubation time during natural ageing. The addition of medium copper contents with approximately 2.7 % Cu enables the compromise between adequate alloy strength and good machinability as well as acceptable anodization ability. Higher manganese concentrations assist the machinability, whereas the magnesium content should lie at the lower limit of the standard. Manganese additions cause a minimal strengthening, while the tensile strength is increased strongly.
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