Soldering is a joining process that uses solder to join two different metal parts together. The solder is made of a metal alloy usually tin and lead, which is melted on the surface that requires joining.
The joining is done using soldering iron when heated above 600 degrees Fahrenheit which is above the melting temperature of the solder. The soldering iron can be connected to electricity or placed directly on fire, causing the solder to melt. The joint is created when it cools.
The solder is used to create strong permanent bonds, mostly used by electricians in circuit boards, and can be widely used on pipe joining. The solder core contains the flux, which is a material used to strengthen and improve the mechanical properties of the joint
At first, filler materials used in soldering were lead-based (lead solder), but over time it has been increasingly replaced with lead-free solders, which consist of bismuth, brass, copper, antimony, indium, tin, or silver
The flux used in soldering is rosin flux as it serves different purposes on the joint such as adding mechanical strength and electrical contact to the joint. this rosin flux also has good advantages on surfaces that contains impurities such as oil, dirt, or oxidation. It helps to prevent oxidation and sometimes cleans the metal chemically. Sometimes a wetting agent will be applied to reduce surface tension.
The hand used in soldering is known as a soldering iron, usual power by an electrical supply. It gets hot above the temperature of the metal alloy, allowing the solder to melt and flow between the point of joining.
This soldering iron contains an insulated handle and a pointed metal, which is expected to be kept clean. The sharpness and cleanness of the tip will influence good soldering. A wet sponge is used to clean the tip of the soldering iron and a solder sucker is used to remove excessive solder on the tip.
A soldering gun is another soldering tool used on applications that requires more heat, offering more heat than irons. This soldering gun is used on sheet metals, heavily electronic, and stained glass. it offers quick, neat, and perfect operation
Types of soldering
Soldering is of three types which use increasingly higher temperatures to create stronger joints in advance. The followings stated below are the types of soldering used when trying to obtain a particular level of joint strength;
Soft soldering: these soldering types have the lowest filler metal melting point of about 400 degrees Celsius. Its filler metals are usually made of alloys, containing lead with liquidus temperature under 350 degrees Celsius. This is because of the low temperatures used in soldering thermal stress components. Soft soldering is not suitable for mechanical load-bearing applications. It cannot also suit high-temperature use as the soldering type loses strength and melts when exposed to heat.
Hard (silver) soldering: these types of soldering use brass or silver in the bonding process. Its melting point is above 450 degrees Celsius, which can be achieved using a blowtorch. These soldering types offer strong joints.
Brazing: brazing is the third soldering type that uses a metal with a very high melting point. The soldering process is closely similar to that of hard soldering, in which the melting point is also above 450 degrees Celsius. The metals are exposed to sufficient heat, that is, the parts that require joining. The soldering metal will then be placed between them which will melt and acts as a bonding agent.
How the soldering process is achieved involves the following steps;
- Melting the Solder
- Cleaning the Components
- Placement of PCB
- Application of Solder
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