Welding vs. Brazing: What’s the Difference?

Welding vs. Brazing

As of 2020, close to half a million people were employed as brazers, welders (and other metal joining professions) in the United States.

It’s a lucrative trade, but one that requires specialist training to get into. Specifically, metal professionals must understand welding vs. brazing.

These techniques essentially join metal components together. But they function very differently, use different materials and equipment, and are used for different engineering and construction purposes.

Read on to find out the difference between these linked yet distinct metalworking techniques.

What Is Brazing?

When you braze metal together, you use a filler metal, called flux, to join one piece of metal to another. It can also remove harmful oxides that form when metal parts are heated to high temperatures.

There needs to be some space between the joins to allow the flux to flow into that space and create a strong bond. The flux is available in various forms depending on the application: powder, rings or washers, liquid, or sheets.

Metals and metal alloys only reach a liquid state at certain temperatures, so brazing needs to be completed at temperatures above 840°F.

Brazing—and welding, for that matter—are different again from soldering. So what is soldering, you ask? Well, welding vs. soldering vs. brazing is a conversation for a separate article!

What Is Welding?

When it comes to brazing vs. welding, welding is the metal joining process that most laypeople will be familiar with.

A welder uses this fabrication process to combine multiple metal sheets or parts. In most cases, they use a high heat flame to melt the pieces into one another. A welder will also apply pressure to create a solid join in some cases. Sometimes filler parts are also inserted where joints don’t line up neatly.

Traditionally, welding was almost always used with metal, but nowadays, it’s used to combine thermoplastics and even wood parts. However, the two materials being joined always need to be the same.

Learning how to weld takes many years because there are four welding techniques to master.

Welding vs. Brazing: Differences Explained

Brazing and welding might sound like the same thing, but the processes are very different.

  • Brazing uses lower temperatures than welding
  • Welding fabricators melt two or more workpieces together, but brazing melts a flux to a workpiece
  • Welding uses fusion, whereas brazing uses capillary action
  • Welding solely uses electricity as the heat source, but brazing uses a variety of heat sources
  • Welding is more suited to joins, but brazing can be used over broad areas
  • Brazing works better with thin materials than welding
  • Welding works better on uneven surfaces or point joins; brazing is better suited to linear joins

Finally, one of the most important differences is that brazing can join dissimilar materials and metals, whereas welding cannot.

Learn the Difference Before Attempting Metalwork

Whether working with metal at home for fun or in the construction or engineering sector, it’s essential to understand welding vs. brazing. On the surface, these techniques appear to function similarly, but they’re actually pretty different once you dig into the science behind them. Do your homework to avoid confusion or make a potentially dangerous mistake.

For more advice on everything from heavy industry to home DIY, browse the other articles on our website.

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