Welding, soldering, and brazing are all different techniques used to join to metal pieces or other materials in some cases. Is there a difference?
When to use which technique? Is welding wire the same as solder wire? What are the materials that can be used? These questions require some diving into the topics.
Is welding wire the same as solder wire?
This can be a common question when talking about soldering and welding. To answer the question, is welding wire the same as solder wire, we can take a look at the similarities. It is not necessary that they be same.
However, you can definitely use a welding wire to solder materials. Sometimes, certain pieces can’t be welded and need soldering or brazing. The material might remain same. So, is welding wire the same as solder wire?
No, welding wire isn’t the same as solder wire, but in some cases it can be used for soldering as well. Welding wire is made of steel whereas solder wire is usually made out of tin alloys.
The uses of welding and soldering are, in most cases, very different from each other. Welding is used for heavy duty parts such as in vehicles. Soldering is mainly used in electronic devices like soldering wires to a circuit board.
Welding is used to join two or more metal pieces together, creating a strong bond between them. They should be able to withstand all kinds of stress and strain. Welding is heavily used in cars, planes, and all vehicles. There are some prerequisites to welding.
- In welding, the two materials being welded should be similar. For example, copper and steel can’t be welded together, but you can weld iron and steel together.
- High temperature is required in welding. This is because in welding, the two pieces should melt, creating a common pool of molten material which joins them together when it solidifies after cooling down. Therefore, the temperature and heat applied should he high enough for both the pieces to melt, so they can fuse together on freezing.
- In many cases, a filler material is used. There can be gaps in the weld joints sometimes and to fill these gaps, filler material is used. An extra piece of metal is used during the process to seal the gaps and ensure that the weld joint fusing both the pieces together is strong.
- For the welding to be considered properly done, the welded part should be as strong as the rest of the area of both pieces being used. The strength of the welded joint should be as much as that of unwelded areas. Sometimes excessive heat can weaken the joints, which should be taken care of when welding. This is because too much heat can change the characteristics of the metal and produce a weak joint.
- The techniques used in welding are different, and chosen depending on the metal to be joined. Different techniques make use of different sources of heat, gas shield, flux composition, etc. For example, there are different heat sources such as electrodes, lasers, ultrasonics, etc. There are also different flux compositions such as acidic and basic.
Soldering serves a different purpose, although it might look similar to welding. Soldering is mainly used in electronic devices to connect different components of the device electronically. For example, wires are connected to a circuit board using soldering.
A solder is rather soft and it comes in reels or tubes, normally. Let’s see some more information about soldering.
- While welding requires higher temperature, soldering uses low temperature. This is because soldering is mainly used for tiny parts that do not require high very high temperature to melt. The soldering heat is also high enough, but not as high as the temperature required for welding.
- The filler materials used in soldering are different. Usually the fillers used are the ones which can melt below 840⁰ F of temperature.
- Unlike welding, different metals can be soldered together. For example, some metals that can be soldered include, gold, silver, brass, steel, etc. The bond is created when the soldering material melts and solidifies.
- The reason different metals can be soldered together is because the strength required is not much. Since soldering is mainly used to solder wires, you don’t need the bond to be as strong as the pieces. It is enough if it can stay connected without hindrance. It is not used in mechanical connections. The main purpose of soldering is to connect the pieces so that electricity can be conducted properly.
- Just like in welding and brazing, flux is used in soldering too. It is used to cover clean the surface so that the solder can properly flow over the pieces that need to be joined.
Brazing is similar to soldering in terms of its usage of fillers to join two metal pieces. The difference being, brazing is done with higher temperatures. Just like welding, brazing is used to create a mechanical connection for the metal pieces. Let’s see some details about brazing.
- Brazing is done by heating a filler alloy so that it melts between the two pieces and joins them on solidifying. In brazing, the pieces that are being joined shouldn’t melt, unlike welding. Only the filler material should melt. Due to this reason, the filler material to be used should have a melting point that is lower than that of the pieces being joined. It should melt at a lower temperature to ensure that the other pieces don’t melt during the process.
- Brazing can be used to join dissimilar metals. For example aluminium, silver, nickel, gold, etc. can be joined together through brazing.
- Just like welding and soldering, flux is also used in brazing. This is to allow smooth flow of the brazing material over the surface of both the metal pieces to be joined. When the molten brazing material flows over the surface of the pieces, it can join them easily and properly.
- The strength of brazing joints lies in between soldering and welding. They are much stronger joints than solder joints. These joints can be stronger than the individual material. However, the brazing joints are not as strong as welding joints.