The Differences Between Soldering, Welding and Brazing

Soldering and welding have been used interchangeably as most sheet metal terms and although they are similar in operation, their processes are quite different. Similarly, welding and brazing are individual metal-joining sheet metal techniques that constitute the sheet metal fabrication process in a slightly different manner. All fabrication work is dependent on efficient structural steel detailing services too.

The main difference between the process of welding and soldering is melting since soldering involves heating of the metal to be bonded rather than melting. In welding, fabricators melt the base metal, causing fusion. Brazing, on the other hand, combines metals by melting and flowing filler metal right into its joint.

Similarities and differences:

  • Soldering is quite similar to brazing since capillary action is used to flow the metal within the joint. Then it is cooled and hardened.
  • Weld joints are usually the strongest compared to the others, followed by joints that are soldered and then the ones that are brazed.
  • Welding functions at 6,500 degrees Fahrenheit, while soldering needs a temperature of at least 840 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Welding involves heating and melting of workpieces and metal bases while soldering does not involve heating of any workpiece.
  • Mechanical properties of base metal can change right at the joint when subjected to drastic heating and cooling during the welding process. On the other hand, soldering does not change the mechanical properties at all.
  • In both processes, brazing, and welding, fabricators add filler metals like aluminum-silicon, bronze, copper, gold-silver, nickel and the like into the joint.
  • Brazing has a lower melting point for filler metal than the adjoining metal while welding and soldering both involve a higher melting point for the filler metal.
  • Fabricators don’t melt the base metals in brazing like in welding.
  • Skill requirements for welders are usually higher than a solder professional with nearly similar heat costs
  • Welds require heat treatments unlike solders but welds require no preheating, unlike solders that require preheating for generating quality joints.

The Process:

The welding process causes fusion that joins metals of similar compositions together with their melting points. The result is a pool of molten material termed as the weld pool owing to the high melting points. Soldering, on the other hand, is a low-temperature process compared to brazing.

Welding also requires a shield to protect filler metal from contamination or oxidization that leads to rust. Brazing lets the filler metal flow into the joint by capillary action and then brought above its melting point and let over the base metal to be subsequently cooled for binding the workpieces.

Soldering is usually used to bind electrical components, not as robust or structural, but enough for conductive connection with binding of components.

The Techniques:

Types of soldering:

  • Brazing
  • Hard soldering
  • Soft soldering

Types of welding:

  • Electric resistance welding
  • Gas metal arc welding
  • Gas tungsten arc welding
  • Glass welding
  • Plastic welding
  • Shielded metal arc welding

Types of brazing:

  • Torch brazing
  • Furnace brazing
  • Braze welding
  • Cast-iron welding
  • Vacuum brazing

Although welding and soldering are popular sheet metal techniques, brazing helps fabricators to join similar or different metals for making a strong joint. One needs an astute structural steel detailing company adroit in creating Tekla structures.