When it comes to joining metals, there are lots of methods that you can use like brazing, soldering, and welding. But the question is what’s the difference between brazing and welding and what are the differences between welding and soldering.
Are you interested to know the answer? If so then keep on reading.
Soldering: What Exactly It Is?
To make it really simple, soldering is a process of joining two metals by applying the solder on the metal, copper wire or pipe sections and then heating it with a soldering iron.
Even so, a soldering iron can melt a filler metal or solder at a considerably low temperature usually up to 450-degrees but mostly at 370 degrees.
The filler metal is laid on the materials that will be fused. However, the filler metal is always solid and in the form of a cord. A lot of times it is needed to add some extra flux to complete the process more easily. Flux usually comes in the form of a paste or in rare cases, in liquid form.
Often, soldering is used to fuse electrical contacts and parts or copper tubing. What’s more, it is utilized in metalwork and plumbing where only low temperatures can be utilized. Also, it can be used for different metals such as iron, gold, silver, brass, and copper.
In soldering there are two methods involve wave soldering and iron soldering.
- Iron Soldering
This is actually the simplest and oldest method of soldering. In this method, soldering iron that has a copper tip is used to heat the filler and then transfer the heat with the filler to the seam or joint.
- Wave Soldering
Often, this method is used in a printed circuit board and electronic component manufacturing. Wave soldering is high speed and most of the time it is automated in wave solder machines which may solder, preheat, flux, and get rid of flux residue on an incessant conveyor.
Finally, wave soldering involves preparing the metal, heating the ends of metal, and melting solder in the seam.
Pros of Soldering:
- With soldering, you can join different materials as well as thin-walled components.
- Melting the base metal is not required.
- Take in low temperatures
Cons of Soldering:
- The flux contains harmful components
- Not suitable for high-temperature applications
- It can’t be utilized in joining big sections
- It is not as strong as brazing or welding
Brazing: What Exactly It Is?
Similar to soldering, Brazing also uses a combination of fluxes, heat, and filler metal to fuse metals together. In this process, one needs to put a flux solution between the pieces of metal and filler metal to be heated and joined together.
Unlike welding, brazing involves heating the filler to a temperature that is lower than melting temperature of pieces being fused together. Often brazing is used for thin metals like aluminum. With brazing, it is fairly easy to connect two pieces of very thin aluminum without damaging the base metal. What’s more, at a small scale (with thin metals) the brazing technique is strong enough to bear a decent load, or at least the same amount that the material can hold. (for example shelves). Nevertheless, many metals, as well as ferrous metals, can be joined together with this process.
Further, some applications of brazing may require the use of fluxing agents in order to control cleanliness.
Heating Methods To Accomplish A Brazing Operation
- Laser brazing
- Electron beam brazing
- Blanket brazing
- infrared brazing
- Torch Brazing
- Dip Brazing
- Induction Brazing
- Furnace Brazing
Pros of Brazing:
- Brazing gives off less thermal distortion.
- It allows tighter controls over tolerances
- Doesn’t melt joint’s base metal.
- Non-metals and different types of metals can be brazed
- Brazing can be coated for protective purposes
Cons of Brazing:
- Lack of joint strength
- Brazed joints could be damaged under a high service temperature
- When done in industrial settings, brazed joints need a higher degree of cleanliness.
Welding: What Exactly It Is?
Welding utilizes a higher temperature in order to heat the edges of the base workpieces and filler metal to make bonded and strong connections between materials.
Compared to brazing and soldering, welding will heat the base metal fragments to their melting point to fuse and join them.
Usually, welding is utilized in the industrial process, building trades, vessels and tanks, railroads, pipelines, heavy equipment construction, aircraft, automotive and shipbuilding.
Types of Welding
- Shielded metal arc
- Submerged arc welding
- Plastic welding
- Oxy-fuel welding
- Gas metal arc welding
- Glass welding
- Electric resistance welding
- Electroslag welding
- Flux-colored arc welding
Pros of Welding:
- It is capable of joining big sections
- In some applications, removing residue is not necessary
- It is a cost-effect process
- Tight and strong seams and joints
Cons of Welding:
- Welding may be more dangerous if not executed properly
- It is not ideal for extra thin metals.
- The alteration in the features of the base metal construction may lead to distortion or internal stresses.
Difference Between Welding and Soldering
Welding joints are much stronger compared to soldered joints. When it comes to the heating process, the base metal in welding is melted and heated while soldering doesn’t need heating of the base metal.
In welding, the mechanical properties may need heating before and after welding to release stress near the beads or to have better penetration.
Furthermore, soldering need about 400 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas welding arc is 10000-15000 thousand degrees.
Welding is a lot more difficult to learn but at the same time, it provides a lot more opportunities for hobbyists. At the same time, for welding, the cost of entry is much higher.
Brazing vs. Soldering
Aforementioned, brazing is kind of similar to brazing. However, there are a number of differences between these two processes.
For brazing, you need higher temperatures to melt the filler. Soldering, on the other hand, makes use of a filler metal heated at temperatures lower than that.
That aside, I would consider brazing more dangerous since you have to operate with an open flame, and with brazing, you need a lot more practice and a very steady hand to do precise work, not to mention the safety side of all that.
Keep in mind that the decision whether to use brazing, soldering, or welding will greatly depend on the job you’re planning to do. In addition to that, the kind of non-metallic materials or metal and the size of the structures. The purpose of the joint will determine the right process you would need to utilize. In most cases, welding is a way to go!
Having enough knowledge of these processes, especially about their differences is very important.
I hope this content helped you in choosing a process that suits your needs.