Wa­ter scare a boost for im­proved brass

Sunday Herald Sun - - News - JOHN ROLFE

AUS­TRALIAN sci­en­tists have in­vented a new form of brass that could elim­i­nate the risk of lead con­tam­i­na­tion in wa­ter.

But they haven’t been able to raise the money to get it in the hands of in­dus­try — a mere $70,000.

One of the brains be­hind the break­through said last week’s rev­e­la­tions about the dan­gers of lead-laced brass might be the turn­ing point.

“Un­til the me­dia storm kicked up from that ar­ti­cle, we’ve been hear­ing crick­ets,” said Uni­ver­sity of NSW ma­te­ri­als sci­en­tist Dr Kevin Law.

Last week house­holds were of­fi­cially warned to run taps for 30 sec­onds in the morn­ing be­fore us­ing wa­ter for drink­ing or cook­ing amid grow­ing con­cern about lead poi­son­ing.

Dr Law’s team de­vel­oped a new brass al­loy, which con­tains no lead but re­tains the prop­er­ties that it gives — such as machin­abil­ity — with­out be­ing more ex­pen­sive.

Dr Law said if they could find an ex­tra $70,000 it would pay for six months’ work by a re­searcher “to get this out of our hands and into in­dus­try’s for large-scale tri­als”.

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