Welding, soldering, brazing, bolting, all these working methods may come to your mind when you need to join two or more materials.
What should you choose to make the joining last? And, which one fits certain materials?
Looking forward, we want to say that they are all quite similar and may equally satisfy you with the results, but some distinctions are a must to know, especially when it comes to temperatures involved in their processes.
Let’s briefly cover each with its pros and cons, decide on the durable and robust method to use for your planned works and learn their different key metrics.
What Each Working Process Does Help With?
Welding is a method used to fuse metals or other materials together with the help of heat, and pressure, which results in a formed joint. Commonly, this method is applied to melt metals, however, thermoplastic and wood materials may be involved as well.
Some works may need a filler or else called consumable, which helps bind the metals by forming one of the most robust joints.
Besides, a welder should pick the right temperature for melting. The temperature ranges between 6,000-8,000°C (10832 – 14432 F) but that’s not it.
When choosing welding, you should also know about its division into the sub-methods including MIG (metal inert gas welding), TIG (tungsten inert gas welding), SMAW (shielded metal arc welding), as well as FCAW (flux-cored arc welding).
In short, MIG is one of the most popular due to its ease and relatively inexpensive parts compared to TIG, while FCAW doesn’t fit thin materials, and SMAW needs many interruptions due to constant need in charging.
- Various welding techniques;
- Strong weldment;
- Depending on the chosen technique, welding may be inexpensive;
- High deposition rates;
- Semi-automatic to fully-automatic welding;
- Some techniques may need lengthy training;
- TIG welding is quite pricey;
- Used only for the same materials;
Soldering is a low-temperature method to bind two materials by melting the filler or else called solder. After melting the solder, it’s placed on the joint part to bind two parts. Soldering is usually used for electronics or such materials as silver, gold, copper among others.
Unlike welding, soldering is proceeding under low temperatures, approximately equal to or below 450°C, hence, it isn’t so strong. Beyond that, the method is also divided into soft-/hard-soldering.
Soft soldering is carried under the temperatures of 90 °C – 450 °C (194 – 842 F), which fits light joints. The hard method is carried only under 450 °C (842 F) which is suitable for mechanical load-bearing applications.
The actual soldering won’t fit heavy materials and you should be aware that joints won’t boast heavy-strength, especially if the object is then exposed to extremely hot temperatures. If so, you’d better choose welding.
- It may be used for dissimilar materials;
- Inexpensive and user-friendly method to join the parts;
- Both temporary and permanent joints may be made;
- It doesn’t fit heavy materials;
- Joints are usually light-strength and may be damaged under high temperatures;
Brazing is commonly referred to as a sub-method of soldering though it has one distinctive feature – temperature.
If the filler is exposed to melting at a temperature of 450 °C (842 F) or below – it’s soldering. If the filler is melted at above 450 °C (842 F), it’s brazing.
What else to know about it?
Besides, to start brazing, you’ll need flux to prevent any kind of oxidation, for example, fluorides, boric acid as well as borax might be an excellent choice. As for applications, it’s best for auto-radiators.
Finally, brazing is one of the most convenient in terms of corrosion resistance joints.
- It may be used for dissimilar materials;
- Relatively similar in strength to welding;
- It produces corrosion resistance joints;
- Flux is needed;
- Aesthetically different color of joint compared to parent material;
Bolting is a method where materials are joined together with fasteners and secured with screw threads. It’s usually applied in the construction or machine-design operations.
Bolted joints are more simple, and don’t need the training to proceed with their applications compared to welding. Nevertheless, you should not expect much strength from bolting.
Beyond that, bolting is a go-choice for work when you need the highest speed, as there is a minimum of interruptions, and you don’t need to charge the equipment. Finally, if you want to avoid any risks related to high temperatures, radiation common for welding, bolting may fit your needs.
- Easy to handle or learn to use;
- It almost bears no risks to your health;
- Light in strength compared to welding;
Learning the Difference
Now, coming to the actual differences between all the above-mentioned works. Generally speaking, all these methods serve the same purpose – to join materials, however, one or another method uses a different temperature, filler, or the joint part itself. Let’s hint you briefly on their distinctions the next way:
Welding vs Soldering
Welding is different from soldering with a temperature used in the application area – it melts the materials, while soldering melts the filler only. To proceed with welding, the melting temperature should be at least 6,000-8,000°C (10832 – 14432 F), while soldering may be performed at 90°C – 450 °C (194 – 842 F).
Welding does work with the same materials for joining, while soldering is good for dissimilar parent parts. Finally, the difference lays in their sub-methods, where welding is divided into MIG, TIG, SWAM, FCAW, and soldering into soft-/hard- ways of use.
Welding vs Brazing
Brazing is proceeding at temperatures above 450 °C (842 F), and may partially resemble the strength of joints made in welding. It also fits dissimilar materials though you should expect that the actual joint may result in having a different color from the parent material BUT with corrosion resistance.
Compared to welding, brazing also binds two parts without melting the parent materials.
Welding vs Bolting
Here the difference is obvious, as bolting binds materials with fasteners and secures them with screw threads. It bears minimal risks to your health and is extremely easy to handle.
Soldering vs Brazing
These two are often referred to as similar processes though the difference is in temperature. Soldering occurs at 90 °C – 450 °C (194 – 842 F), and brazing above 450 °C (842 F).
Soldering vs Bolting
Let’s say that they are both inexpensive, don’t provide high strength as it happens with arc welding, don’t need much training to learn to proceed with such works BUT two are used for dissimilar materials painlessly.
Is Soldering the Same Robust as Welding?
Soldering isn’t the same robust as welding though it ranks second in the competition. It’s explained with the temperatures used. Welding may promise you more as extremely high temperatures are involved.
Beyond that, you should understand that welding (depending on the technique) may also need lengthy training or enough experience in proceeding with such works, while soldering is relatively easier to handle.
Nevertheless, remember that you should pick the method based on your planned works, for instance, if you have dissimilar materials, you won’t go for welding. On the contrary, you won’t go for soldering, if the material used may be melted only under extremely high temperatures. So, choose appropriately.
When to Use Bolting?
Today, it’s widely-popular in pipe flanges, chemical reactors, mobile shelves, staircases, hangar-garages, fences, ceilings of high-rise buildings applications among others. Bolted joints provide a firm connection, however, again they won’t be the same robust as in welding.
When comparing all these methods for joining the materials, we’ve carried the mission to ease your choice before you start the work.
It’s worth saying that in almost all types of works, we’ll recommend sticking to welding but if it’s possible so. Welding provides you with firmness, accuracy, and of course, the durability of joints.
On the second place is soldering based on our experience and robustness of joints, while such methods as bolting and brazing might be an excellent choice as well if you don’t have much experience in practicing joining.
Finally, bolting is the winner when it comes to safety, as you won’t be exposed to radiation, high temperatures, hence burns.
Nevertheless, everything depends on the materials used, and the equipment that you have at hand. We wish you safe and robust joints!