What metals can be soldered?

Written by matthew cote | 13/05/2017
What metals can be soldered?
(Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Windell Oskay)

Soldering uses a metal alloy with a low melting point to join two base metals. Since this process alters the chemical make-up of the base metals, it's helpful to know which metals work without special consideration.

Base Metals

While silver, bronze, copper, brass and some steels form strong chemical and physical bonds on their own, metals such as high-alloy steels, cast iron, aluminium and titanium often require an alloy with a higher melting point.

Soft vs. Hard Solder

Soft solder uses a low-melting point metal (most often lead or tin) to make it more manageable at the expense of a weaker bond; Hard solder requires flux but forms a much stronger bond because of its higher melting point.

Why Flux?

Flux prevents the base metals from oxidising during the soldering process.

Speciality Solder

The most common solders are alloys of lead and tin, which are very difficult to use with oxidised metals; others are formulated specifically for use with these metals (i.e. steel and aluminium).

Wiping Solder

Wiping solders are more fluid, making them easier to manipulate. Cable wiping solder has the highest tin content, providing a stronger bond than easy wiping solders.

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