What is Brazing?

What is brazing? How is it used for PCBs?

PCB Basics 
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Editorial Team - PCB Directory

Apr 9, 2024

Brazing is a distinctive joining process that, unlike traditional soldering, utilizes filler metals with higher melting points, resulting in durable and robust joints. Its significance extends across diverse sectors such as automotive, aerospace, and plumbing. This process's ability to create strong, temperature-resistant bonds makes it a vital technique in the manufacturing landscape. In this article, we delve into the fundamentals of braze soldering, exploring its applications and essential considerations for successful implementation.

Basics of Brazing

Braze soldering, often referred to as brazing, is a specialized joining process that distinguishes itself from traditional soldering methods. Unlike conventional soldering, which employs lower-temperature alloys, braze soldering involves the use of filler metals with significantly higher melting points. The key differentiation lies in the temperature range; while traditional soldering typically operates below 450°C (842°F), braze soldering occurs at temperatures exceeding this threshold. The higher temperatures associated with braze soldering impart robustness to the joints, making them capable of withstanding more demanding conditions.

Temperature Considerations in Brazing: Temperature plays a critical role in brazing, and it is essential to achieve precise control to ensure effective joint formation. The process commonly occurs in the temperature range of 450°C to 1,200°C (842°F to 2,192°F), depending on the specific application and materials involved. This elevated temperature is necessary to melt the filler metal, promoting capillary action and facilitating its flow into the joint interface. Careful temperature management is crucial to prevent thermal damage to the base materials while ensuring the filler metal achieves the desired bond strength.

Filler Metals Used in the Process: The choice of filler metals is a key aspect of brazing, influencing the strength and durability of the resulting joints. Commonly used filler metals include alloys of copper, silver, gold, nickel, and aluminium. These metals are selected based on their compatibility with the materials being joined and their melting points. Copper-based alloys, for instance, are preferred for applications involving copper or copper alloys. The diversity in filler metals allows for tailoring the brazing process to meet specific material requirements, ensuring optimal performance and reliability in diverse industrial applications.

Brazing Process

Step-by-step Explanation of the Braze Soldering Process: The braze soldering process involves several key steps to create strong and durable joints between materials:


  1. Surface Preparation: The surfaces to be joined must be thoroughly cleaned to remove any contaminants, oxides, or residues. This ensures optimal wetting and bonding of the filler metal.
  2. Application of Flux: Flux is applied to the joint area to prevent oxidation during heating. The flux promotes wetting by removing oxides and creating a clean surface for the filler metal to adhere to.
  3. Placement of Filler Metal: The filler metal, often in the form of a pre-placed alloy or a coating, is strategically positioned at the joint interface. This metal will melt during the heating process and flow into the joint through capillary action.
  4. Heating: The assembly is subjected to controlled heating, typically using a torch, induction, or furnace. The temperature must be precisely maintained within the braze soldering range to melt the filler metal without compromising the integrity of the base materials.
  5. Capillary Action and Joint Formation: As the filler metal reaches its melting point, capillary action draws it into the narrow spaces between the prepared surfaces. This capillary flow ensures complete coverage of the joint, creating a strong and uniform bond.
  6. Cooling: Once the joint is formed, the assembly is allowed to cool gradually. This cooling period is critical for solidifying the filler metal and establishing a secure connection between the joined materials.

Role of Capillary Action in Creating Strong Joints: Capillary action is a fundamental mechanism in brazing that drives the molten filler metal into the microscopic gaps and crevices between the surfaces being joined. The capillary forces arise from the surface tension of the liquid filler metal and the intermolecular interactions between the metal and the base materials. This action ensures that the molten metal wets the surfaces effectively, enhancing the overall contact area and promoting a robust bond. The capillary flow is especially crucial in achieving strong joints in intricate or closely fitted assemblies where the space for the filler metal to flow may be limited.

Temperature Control and Equipment Used: Temperature control is a critical aspect of braze soldering to achieve successful joints without compromising the structural integrity of the materials involved. Various heating methods, including torches, induction heating, and controlled furnaces, are employed depending on the specific application. Advanced temperature control systems are integrated into the equipment to maintain the precise temperature range required for the filler metal to melt and flow. The equipment used may include specialized fixtures, jigs, or fixtures to hold the components in place during the heating and cooling phases, ensuring accurate alignment and joint formation.

Materials and Applications

Types of Metals Suitable for Brazing: Brazing is a versatile process that can be applied to a wide range of metals and alloys. Common metals suitable for brazing include:

  • Copper and Copper Alloys: Copper and its alloys, such as brass and bronze, respond well to brazing. The process is often used in applications involving electrical components and plumbing.
  • Stainless Steel: Brazing is effective for joining stainless steel components, providing strong and corrosion-resistant joints. This is particularly crucial in industries such as aerospace and automotive.
  • Aluminium and Aluminium Alloys: Aluminium, known for its lightweight properties, can be braze-soldered to create joints with good strength and thermal conductivity. Applications range from heat exchangers to automotive components.
  • Titanium: In aerospace and medical applications, where the lightweight and high-strength characteristics of titanium are essential, brazing is employed for joining titanium components.
  • Tungsten and Molybdenum: These refractory metals, known for their high melting points, can be effectively joined using brazing, making them valuable in applications such as electronics and lighting.

Examples of Common Applications in Different Industries: Brazing finds diverse applications across various industries due to its ability to create strong and reliable joints. Examples include:

  • Automotive Industry: Brazing is used in the manufacturing of exhaust systems, heat exchangers, and various engine components. The process ensures the integrity of joints under high-temperature and high-vibration conditions.
  • Aerospace Industry: Aircraft and spacecraft components often require materials with exceptional strength and reliability. Brazing is applied to join critical components in engines, airframes, and heat management systems.
  • Electronics and Electrical Industry: In the production of electrical circuits, brazing is utilized to join components, such as connectors and heat sinks. The process ensures a secure electrical connection while managing heat dissipation.
  • Medical Devices: Brazing is employed in the manufacture of medical devices, including implants and diagnostic equipment. The process allows for the creation of biocompatible joints with precise tolerances.
  • Energy Sector: Brazing is utilized in the energy sector for the fabrication of components in power generation systems, such as turbines, heat exchangers, and nuclear reactors.

Advantages of Using Braze Soldering in Specific Scenarios: The advantages of brazing soldering vary depending on the materials and applications. In specific scenarios, braze soldering offers the following benefits:

  • High-Temperature Resistance: Braze-soldered joints exhibit excellent resistance to high temperatures, making them suitable for applications in engines, industrial furnaces, and other high-temperature environments.
  • Corrosion Resistance: The process produces joints with good corrosion resistance, enhancing the longevity of components in applications exposed to harsh environments or chemicals.
  • Biocompatibility: In medical applications, where biocompatibility is crucial, brazing allows for the joining of components without introducing contaminants or compromising the safety of medical devices.
  • Lightweight Joints: Brazing enables the creation of lightweight joints, making it valuable in industries such as aerospace, where weight reduction is a critical factor for fuel efficiency.
  • High Strength and Durability: The joints formed through brazing are known for their high strength and durability, contributing to the reliability of components in various industrial settings.

Strength and Durability of Joints

Comparison of Joint Strength in Brazing Versus Traditional Soldering: The strength of joints in brazing is notably higher compared to traditional soldering methods. Traditional soldering relies on lower-temperature filler metals that form joints with moderate strength. In contrast, brazing utilizes higher-temperature filler metals, often resulting in joints with superior mechanical strength. The elevated temperatures in this process allows for deeper penetration of the filler metal into the base materials, creating a robust metallurgical bond.

  • Joint Strength: Brazing generally produces joints with higher mechanical strength compared to traditional soldering.
  • Temperature Requirements: Brazing involves higher temperatures than traditional soldering, enabling the use of more robust filler metals and enhancing joint durability.
  • Material Compatibility: Traditional soldering may be limited by the types of materials that can be effectively joined due to lower temperature requirements.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Braze Soldering: 

Advantages: Brazing stands out for its ability to produce joints with exceptional mechanical strength, a characteristic that sets it apart in various industries. This method offers versatility in materials, enabling the joining of dissimilar materials with varying melting points, and expanding the range of compatible materials compared to traditional soldering. Another notable advantage is its precision in joint creation, making it well-suited for intricate assemblies where accuracy is paramount. Additionally, braze soldering minimizes the heat-affected zone when contrasted with welding, preserving the integrity of material properties and making it a preferred choice for applications where such preservation is crucial.

Disadvantages: Brazing, while offering notable advantages, comes with certain considerations that merit attention. The higher temperature requirements, inherent to this process, can pose a limitation for components sensitive to heat. Skilled operators are essential in brazing, as the precise control of temperatures and application demands expertise to ensure optimal results. Additionally, the process may incur higher costs, attributed to the expense of filler metals and the energy needed for elevated temperatures. These factors underscore the importance of weighing the benefits against the specific requirements and constraints of each application when choosing braze soldering as a joining method.


Brazing is a specialized process distinct from traditional methods, utilizing higher-melting-point filler metals for durable joints. Operating between 450°C and 1,200°C (842°F to 2,192°F), precise temperature control ensures effective joint formation. Common metals like copper, stainless steel, aluminum, titanium, tungsten, and molybdenum find applications in various industries. Compared to traditional soldering, brazing offers mechanically stronger joints due to higher temperatures enabling deeper filler metal penetration. Distinguished by minimized heat-affected zones, accommodation of dissimilar materials, joint precision, and reduced post-processing compared to welding, brazing offers advantages like exceptional strength, material versatility, precision, and minimized heat-affected zones.

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