Resources in the units

As we said in the module overview, we are asking you to do some research, rather than just read what we have to say, so that in each of the units we will be asking a number of questions, and then suggesting ways in which you can find out the answer for yourself.

Each question is separated from a link to our outline of the answer, or from the next piece of work, by a table containing things to explore. These resources take a number of forms:

PowerPoint presentations:

Where the original material is available, presentations have been converted for web browsing and have a navigation bar at the left-hand side. This has been created from the slide text, providing an easy means to accessing specified content, rather viewing the whole presentation in sequence.

Occasionally you may come across PowerPoint prints (handouts or slides) in Adobe Portable Document format.


Except where hosted on someone else's web site, these will all be Adobe Portable Document format (.pdf) files.

Web links:

Where we are confident that the URL is stable, and the site structure allows, these are deep-linked to the intended document; otherwise the home page URL is linked and access instructions given. If a deep-linked URL fails, go to the home page and search for the article.

Video clips:

These are currently streamed in a format that can be viewed using Real Player. If you don't yet have this, visit and click on the Free Player tab; ignore the invitations to upgrade! Some company IT managers are not happy with Real Player (and you may be irritated by its pop-ups), so we will be moving to Windows Media Streaming technology in the near future, and making more use of this medium.

As an alternative to playing the video, each clip is linked to a transcript provided in a text window.

Search suggestions:

During development we check out the suggested search terms using Google, but this is not the only search engine in town.

Between questions you will also find links to explanatory or support material within the module or the AMI topic resource area. These are Web pages of more conventional AMI materials, and the longer items have inbuilt self-assessment questions. Much of this supplementary material explains basics such as metallurgy, surface tension, solder wetting, intermetallics and fluxes; although the module as a whole is pitched at postgraduate level, we do not assume that designers or managers know everything about the physical sciences.

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Web resources

Much of your research is likely to be on the web, using search engines, and we recommend a degree of caution when looking for material; it is very easy to get an unbalanced view, and easier still to get swamped. So, before you start, please read our note on using web resources.

We try to focus your searches appropriately, but this only works until the sites and search engines change. Unfortunately, the rate of change on Web sites is enormous – probably of the order of 30% yearly. Please help us keep the listing up-to-date by emailing information on changed addresses and lost links to Martin Tarr.

Also, as we don't have a monopoly on serendipity, we are always grateful to receive URLs and descriptions of sites that you find during your browsing and which contain information that you have found of interest and relevance.

Apart from the specific links that you will find in the units, we have created a number of lists of general resource material to which we have ourselves referred. These are grouped into:

There is also a separate list of selected web sites dealing with Design for Environmental issues to which some of the earlier units point.

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As lead-free solders are becoming more mature, and the issues have been discussed in the industry for a number of years, even though with less urgency than at present, more and more books have at least some lead-free content. We have produced two lists of books that may be of help to you – many of them will be in your company library (if you work for a large company) or can be borrowed from a local university library – talk to the Bolton Library for information on how we support distance learning students. We would, however, urge caution – with only 100 hours of study for this module, you will need to manage your time carefully, and will probably find these books more useful for longer- term reference than for immediate answers to your search.

Another danger is that books are often out-of-date even before they are published. Also they tend to focus on technology aspects, are in too much detail, and are too expensive for most students. The SMART Group web site suggests two CD-ROM items that may appeal more to many engineers, and to which we will be referring during this module:

The Lead-Free Soldering “Cook Book 3”, produced jointly by The National Physical Laboratory and Bob Willis of Electronic Presentation Services. This interactive CD-ROM is available direct at £99.00 + VAT. We have incorporated some of Bob Willis’ video interviews in our teaching material.

Roger Bilham’s Guide To Lead-Free Soldering for Assemblers & Sub-Contractors, a useful 53-page summary of the issues, problems and actions needed, available direct from the author at £35.00. This is reviewed by Bob Willis at Several ‘taster’ pages have been incorporated in our later units.

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As with all specialist areas, lead-free and environmental studies bristle with words that mean little to the outsider or, worse, mean something different within the environmental context. We have therefore provided a link to the Glossary of EDR terms used on our process and materials module which includes a number of commonly-used environmental terms.

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