by James Anderson | Last Updated on December 10, 2021
Do you often confuse soldering with welding and brazing or use them interchangeably?
I can relate to this question very well as I had an annoying experience with this.
Once I thought that soldering, welding, and brazing are identical and applicable for similar purposes. So, I used soldering to make a T tray table which eventually broke under the weight of my old television. This incident pushed me to find out the reason. I made a research on these approaches and found that they are significantly different from each other. Especially, their usable areas are pretty diversified.
Many of us may have the same misconception. So, I have tried to point out the differences between soldering, welding, and brazing to help you choose the correct MO for your next projects. Well, let’s jump into the main part of our discussion.
Welding is a popular technique of joining parts in the metalworking industry. Welders use this method to create extreme bonds between two or more metal parts. Besides, it’s an inevitable pursuit in sheet metal fabrication. Apart from metals, you can also employ welding on thermoplastics and wood. So, let’s see how it works.
In welding, you can create binding only between two similar metals (e.g. copper to copper or steel to steel). So, take two akin metallic elements and heat them at a high temperature (above 450°C) in the areas where you want to make bonds. After melting, join those parts and let them cool to get a strong welding joint. You may also use a filler metal to seal tiny gaps in the welded areas.
Anyways, the durability of the weld depends upon proper maintenance of the process.
If you can’t stick to the progress and use excessive melting heat, the metals may lose their properties ending up with a poor joint. So, work efficiency is a must here.
Welding is not a single technique in itself. Rather, it has a variety of different techniques including arc welding, gas welding, laser, and electro-resistance welding. You have to decide which one to use based on the types of materials and your desired outcomes. Thus, one welding project gets exceptions from the others.
Advantages of Welding
- It can create rock-solid bonds between metals.
- Welded joints can sustain under tremendous stress
- Suitable for a wide range of applications (e.g. building plane, or car).
- Being able to hook up both thin and heavy metallic parts.
- Welded joints can sustain under high temperatures.
Disadvantages of Welding
- Can’t tie up dissimilar materials.
- Requires higher expertise to operate.
Like welding, soldering is another process of linking metals and other materials. We use it mostly in the electronic industry to connect electric components. Besides, we can have special use of soldering in jewelry making. Now, let’s take a glance at the features of soldering.
Soldering is useful for combining different materials. So, you can easily make a bond of unalike metals (e.g. copper to iron) using this approach. So, how does it work?
In soldering, you don’t need to soften the base material to create bonds. Differently, you will melt a solder (a filler metal having a low melting point compared to the base metal) here and apply it to the connecting parts. After cooling, the solder can create a solid joint. Anyways, before starting the entire task, apply flux on the metal surface to make it ready for soldering.
Soldering lowers the probability of deformation by refusing the melting of base material and using lower temperatures (below 450°C). So, you can continue this process even with a basic working skill. But soldered bonds are less sturdy. Any fault during the joining process can disrupt the flow of electricity in the circuit.
Advantages of Soldering
- It can bond non-identical materials.
- Easy to perform with elementary work skills.
- It’s a time-saving approach.
- Can be performed within a moderate temperature.
- Decent approach for combining thin parts.
- Makes the joints power conductor.
Disadvantages of Soldering
- Soldered bonds are less secure.
- Unfit for heavy-duty application.
- High temperature is harmful to soldering parts.
Brazing is another highly used technique of joining metals and non-metals. In this process, you can create more powerful bindings between dissimilar particles compared to soldering. That’s why brazing is fairly popular in a wide range of applications such as connecting electronic components, making electronic circuits, etc. Besides, it’s useful for joining rocket, jet engine, and aircraft parts. So, let’s get to know how brazing works.
Brazing is almost similar to soldering. Here you have to follow the same process as you did in soldering. You will heat the workpieces below their melting temperature, at first, to enhance the joint’s strength. Then, you have to melt the filler (alloy) at more than 450°C temperature and apply it to the connecting part. After that, make the melted filler cool enough to get a solid joint.
Like welding, brazing also creates mechanical connections between parts. But there is little chance of deformation in the original metals by the elevated temperature. So, you have to be more careful while performing the task.
Again, don’t forget to use flux during brazing. Otherwise, the filler can’t flow over the surface properly and create a tighter binding with the metal parts.
Advantages of Brazing
- Creating mechanical bonds with little effort.
- It can produce well-finished joints.
- Can unite dissimilar base metals.
- Fairly strong joints.
- No need for post-processing heat.
- Less time-consuming.
Disadvantages of Brazing
- Requiring more care while performing it.
- Less viable for extreme temperatures.
Difference between Welding, Brazing and Soldering
Let’s look at some obvious differences between soldering, welding, and brazing.
1. Sturdiness of the Joints
Soldered joints are less sturdy compared to welding and brazing joints. Thereby, we can’t use it for extreme operations. Elseways, welded joints can withstand tremendous pressures. But the durability of brazing joints is more than soldered joints and less than welded parts.
2. Required Temperature
Compared to soldering and brazing, welding requires more temperature to melt the base material. Again, brazing is done at more temperature than that of soldering. Usually, welders use more than 450°C heat in welding whereas a solder liquefies at less than 450°C temperatures.
3. Melting of Workpiece
In welding, you must melt the workpieces (base metals) to connect them. Contrarily, soldering and brazing cause no melting of the base metal. Instead, you need to use a filler metal here to weld the workpieces. Anyway, the filler used for brazing can bind the metals more tightly than a solder.
4. Changes of Mechanical Properties
Welders apply excessive heat in welding. So, the possibility of changing mechanical properties of the original metal is high here. But soldering raises no such threats. However, brazing can change the metal’s properties to a very small extent.
5. Necessity of Skills
Working skills are must for each of these three processes. But you have to perform the task of welding more skillfully because of its intensive procedure. Elseways, soldering and brazing can be done more flexibly using your basic know-how. Yet brazing requires some added caution.
Soldering and brazing are very simple. So, you can complete the task within a short period. Moreover, soldering may give you the flexibility to remove liquid solder from a soldered joint by using a desoldering iron machine. On the other hand, welding features a long, hard procedure to follow.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q. Can You use a solder to weld?
You can definitely use solder to weld. But remember, solder is not as strong as other filler metals which you can use for welding. So, I suggest you use it for less stressful projects.
Q. Which one is strongest- welding, soldering, or brazing?
Welding is the strongest one among these three. In welding, you don’t rely on the filler metal to joint the parts. Instead, you melt the base metal at a high temperature and press them to connect. As a consequence, the joint becomes more strong than the original metal. Anyway, you can later use a filler to give a clean finish. Elseways, soldering requires the use of a soft filler metal to bind thin metallic parts. So, it creates weaker joints that can sustain only under less temperature. Again, the strength of brazing joints stands between the preceding methods. So, you can say that welding is the most suitable method for heavy-duty applications.
Q. Can you use a propane torch to weld?
Yes, you can use a propane torch to weld. But it’s not suitable for all metals. Hence, you should be clear about the metal which can be welded with a propane torch.
You have just gone through the differences between soldering, welding, and brazing. You have seen how they serve different purposes with their unique features, efficiency, and required tools. Now, it’s your turn to pick the proper manner for your upcoming plans.
Anyways, soldering might be an appropriate option for you if you want to assemble tiny parts. You can save huge time and effort with it. Otherwise, you should go for welding to complete your large projects where you need unbreakable metallic joints.
Hi, I am James Anderson from Sandy, Utah. Welding has always been part of my life and I love to share my wealth of experience. I have a team of professionals who are knowledgeable about different welding processes. I hope you will be educated and informed on this website, to become better welders.