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Demystifying Metal Joining Options

What Is Brazing?

At the heart of brazing lies an artful and scientific process that marries metals through the process of capillary action. Unlike welding, which involves the complete melting of base metals, brazing navigates the delicate balance of temperatures, where the filler metal melts at a lower point than the base metals, ensuring the integrity of the components being joined.

Brazing's magic unfolds as the molten filler material flows into the tiny crevices and gaps of the joint, forming a strong and unyielding connection upon solidification. It is the harmony of capillary action that allows for the creation of intricate and precise bonds, making brazing a technique of choice for applications that demand utmost precision and delicacy.

One of the remarkable aspects of brazing is its ability to bring together metals with varying melting points and dissimilar compositions. This versatility opens doors to a myriad of possibilities, from joining copper and steel for automotive components to uniting non-metals like tungsten carbide, alumina, graphite, and diamond for specialized applications in aerospace and electronics.

Distinctions Between Brazing & Braze Welding:

Brazing, braze welding, and welding are related processes, but they are not completely interchangeable. While they are all metal joining processes, they differ in their techniques, temperatures, and the extent to which the base metals are melted.


  • Process: Brazing involves joining metal components using a filler metal that has a lower melting point than the base metals. The filler metal is heated until it melts and is drawn into the joint by capillary action, creating a strong bond upon solidification.

  • Base Metal Melting: In brazing, the base metals themselves do not melt; only the filler metal is melted.

  • Temperatures: Brazing is performed at temperatures typically above 800°F (427°C), but below the melting point of the base metals.

  • Advantages:

    • Can join dissimilar metals.

    • Lower heat input, reducing the risk of distortion or damage to sensitive materials.

    • Neat and aesthetically pleasing joints.

  • Limitations:

    • Joints may not be as strong as those created by welding.

    • Requires precise joint clearances for capillary action to work effectively.

Braze Welding:

  • Process: Braze welding is a hybrid process that combines elements of brazing and welding. It involves heating the base metals to a temperature below their melting points and using a filler metal with a lower melting point to create a joint.

  • Base Metal Melting: In braze welding, the base metals are not fully melted; they are heated to a temperature below their melting points.

  • Temperatures: Braze welding is typically performed at higher temperatures compared to brazing, often ranging from 1600°F to 2000°F (871°C to 1093°C).

  • Advantages:

    • Provides a compromise between the strength of welding and the lower heat input of brazing.

    • Can join dissimilar metals effectively.

    • Reduced risk of distortion compared to traditional welding.

  • Limitations:

    • May not achieve the same level of joint strength as traditional welding.

    • More heat is applied compared to brazing.

Factors and Considerations When Choosing Between Brazing & Braze Welding

The choice between these methods depends on factors such as the materials being joined, the desired joint strength, the risk of distortion, and the specific application requirements. That’s where we at MPD Welding Grand Rapids Inc's can help, not only by performing the jobs you need, but also by helping you assess exactly which technique will best serve your materials and purposes. Here are some considerations: 

  • Temperature Sensitivity: Brazing occurs at lower temperatures than welding, making it a favorable choice for materials with varying melting points or those sensitive to heat-induced distortion. Welding, due to higher temperatures, might induce warping in thin or delicate components.

  • Material Compatibility: While brazing caters to a broader range of materials, including dissimilar metals, welding is often limited to similar metals due to the requirement of complete material fusion.

  • Strength and Joint Integrity: Welding produces stronger joints due to the complete metallurgical fusion of base metals. Brazed joints, while strong, may have a slightly lower load-bearing capacity.

  • Precision and Cleanliness: Brazing is ideal for intricate work where precise control over the joint area is crucial. The process produces minimal distortion and retains the original properties of the base metals.

  • Aesthetic Considerations: Welding often leaves visible seams, while brazing yields smoother, less conspicuous joints, making it suitable for applications where aesthetics matter.

  • Assembly Complexity: Brazing excels in joining complex assemblies with multiple joints, as the capillary action ensures thorough infiltration even in hard-to-reach areas.

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