Skip to main content
June 2, 2017

Alumnus Iver Anderson inducted into National Inventors Hall of Fame

The National Inventors Hall of Fame has named Iver Anderson (MSMetE ’77, PhDMetE ’82) among its 2017 class of inductees, all of whom have contributed to society in meaningful ways through their groundbreaking, patented innovations.

Anderson is being honored for inventing the lead-free solder—a revolutionary tin, silver and copper alternative to traditional tin and lead solder. Anderson’s solder has reduced environmental hazards and is a metallurgical advancement that has transformed electronic packaging and been adopted throughout industry for use in manufacturing.

To perform successfully, solder must melt at one temperature, flow easily, then solidify quickly to create a strong, durable bond between metal parts. Late last century, studies showed that lead in discarded solders leached into landfills and aquifers, threatening human health. Research conducted by Anderson—a senior metallurgist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory—and his team led to the innovative solder. Like the traditional tin-lead alloy, Anderson’s tin-silver-copper alloy acts like a pure metal with a single melting point—the key feature of a solder. Today, 70 percent of electronic items in the world contain Anderson’s lead-free solder.

Besides minimizing toxic environmental impacts and manufacturing costs, the solder can withstand greater stress, higher temperatures and temperature changes, more rugged settings, and resist corrosion that can weaken soldered connections—all important to optimal functioning of smart phones, laptops, tablets and similar devices. In addition to typical solder ingot and paste, the solder alloy can also be formed into sheets or wires for accurate placement.

He is an internationally recognized authority on lead-free solder, and his research includes powder metallurgy, rapid solidification and joining problems. Anderson holds 39 patents.

The 45th annual National Inventors Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held in Washington, D.C., on May 4, 2017.