There seem to be endless reasons why you would want to use metal when constructing something or when repairing something. Metal offers excellent strength and stability as well as being an excellent electrical and thermal conductor.
For these reasons, metal is widely used in construction and numerous electrical applications. The need to join two or several pieces of metal together becomes necessary in many of its uses. Welding vs soldering becomes a relevant question when deciding how best to do that.
In this article, you will learn the basic similarities but also the important differences between these two techniques. After being better informed, you will make the right choice about which technique suits your purpose.
Welding and Soldering – Similarities
The fundamentals of welding and soldering are the same. Both techniques involve the application of heat to the metal. This affects the atomic relationships within the metal structure.
There are 3 basic states of matter called solid, liquid, and gas. A solid is known as an allotrope which consists of tightly packed atoms. When you heat an allotrope like metal, the relationship between the atoms changes and allows the structure to be manipulated and even merged with another metal.
In some metals, there is an allotropic phase transformation to such an extent that it changes from a solid-state to a liquid state. This is what happens during soldering.
Welding vs Soldering – Important Differences
The major difference between joining metal through welding or soldering is whether you heat the base metal or use another metal to create the joint. Welding involves heating the base metal so that it can bond with another metal.
In contrast, soldering does not heat the base metal but heats another metal, called the solder, which is then used to form a join between metals. As the solder cools it returns to its solid-state and binds the connection between the two metals joined together.
Which One Should I Use?
As a basic rule, welding provides a stronger bond than soldering. However, welding requires a powerful heat source and more skill in its use. This technique is well suited to joining large pieces of metal.
Soldering does not require a powerful heat source and is more cosmetically attractive. Where small and neat metal connections are required, this is the ideal technique. Of course, the type of metal you’re working with will also make a difference in your choice.
It’s a general rule that if you’re working with a metal that has a higher melting point you should consider welding as it uses a more powerful heat source. Welding technology has advanced over the years so that you can use it for many practical applications.
Hot to Trot?
In this article, you have read about welding vs soldering. They both have similarities but also major differences. Both techniques are very useful.
Welding requires more technical expertise and equipment whereas you can start to have a go at soldering with little expertise and a basic soldering iron. Don’t stop reading here, you can check out other helpful articles on our site that fit with your lifestyle.