Metals That you Will Encounter in Soldering

Metals That you Will Encounter in Soldering

Do you often use a modern soldering iron, such as the iCooker soldering kit – http://www.amazon.com/iCooker-Soldering-Iron-Watt-Solder/dp/B01774KARE? Soldering makes use of a wide range of metals and metal alloys. Within your work, you will most certainly encounter some of these metals briefly described below.

Zinc: Zinc is a natural chemical element often found in the earth’s crust and in varying concentrations within its mining areas. In soldering, zinc is widely used in the soldering of various items. However, this is usually done using zinc-based alloys and not the element in its pure form.

Aluminum: Aluminum is a whitish, soft metal and usually exhibits non-magnetic characteristics. It is among earth’s most abundant elements and happens to be the most abundant metal on earth.

Silver: Silver is a soft, whitish metal that has the best electrical and thermal conductivity and also the best reflectivity among metals. These characteristics have made silver ideal for a variety of uses over a wide range of industries.

Tin: Tin is a chemical element that exists mostly as a silvery metal that does not easily oxidize. It’s tensile and shear strength makes it highly suitable for soldering both as an alloy and in its pure form.

Cadmium: Cadmium is a bluish whitish metal that exhibits a melting point way lower than that of transition metals. This has made it suitable for use in soldering to make alloys with relatively low liquidus.

Antimony: Antimony is a grayish metalloid though some variations exist as metallic antimony.  The element in its pure form has a melting point of about 630 degrees Celsius. Various characteristics of antimony have made the element suitable for use in soldering.

Indium: Indium is among the most versatile metals on earth and is used in a very wide range of applications and industries. Indium is highly malleable and ductile. This allows molten indium-based solder to flow and fill joints easily, way better than other less-malleable metals.

Soldering Metals

Top 7 Soldering Metals

#1 Zinc

Zinc in Soldering

#2 Aluminum

Aluminum in Soldering

#3 Silver

Silver in Soldering

#4 Tin

Tin in Soldering

#5 Cadmium

Cadmium in Soldering

#6 Antimony

Antimony in Soldering

#7 Indium

Indium in Soldering

Metals With Good Solderability

Metals With Good Solderability

These are metals whose solderability characteristics can be described as fair. This is due to the presence of various shortcomings that disqualifies them from being among those with the best solderability. Some of the shortcomings in these metals include the formation of brittle joints, high oxidation and high soldering temperatures. Some of the metals under the good classification include:

Zinc

Zinc is a natural chemical element often found in the earth’s crust and in varying concentrations within its mining areas. In soldering, zinc is widely used in the soldering of various items. However, this is usually done using zinc-based alloys and not the element in its pure form. Due to its relatively high liquidus, it’s often necessary to use an alloy based on zinc and a metal with much lower liquidus. Common metals to form the alloy include cadmium, tin, lead and copper.

Copper

Copper is a reddish brown ductile metal that possesses very good electrical and thermal conductivity. These characteristics make it suitable for use in heating and power industries in addition to its relatively wide availability. Copper is among the metals first used for various activities by humans with several uses dating back as 7000 BC.

Tin

Tin is a chemical element that exists mostly as a silvery metal that does not easily oxidize. It’s tensile and shear strength makes it highly suitable for soldering both as an alloy and in its pure form. In soldering, tin-solver-copper is among the most common alloys since the ban on use of lead-based solder. In industrial applications, the tin-silver-copper, often known as SAC alloy is the solder of choice for SMT soldering of elements into PCBs.

Metals With the Best Solderability

Metals With the Best Solderability

Before you engage on your next, or probably your first soldering job, it is important to understand that not all metals are solderable and those that are have varying degrees of the same. Solderability is usually defined as the ease in a metal or other material with which a soldered joint can be made. We will look at some of the metals with the best solderability. These also happen to be the best to work with.

Cadmium

Cadmium is a bluish whitish metal that exhibits a melting point way lower than that of transition metals. This has made it suitable for use in soldering to make alloys with relatively low liquidus. Cadmium is in very many ways related to zinc from the metallic classification to the mining procedures and locations. The metal is usually found as a minor element in ores that contain zinc. It is therefore produced as a by-product of zinc mining.

Silver

Silver is a soft, whitish metal that has the best electrical and thermal conductivity and also the best reflectivity among metals. These characteristics have made silver ideal for a variety of uses over a wide range of industries. In soldering, silver is used as an alloy with other metals to form solder that portrays among the highest liquidus of any solder.

Lead

Lead was until recently the most widely used metal in soldering. However, several risks and conditions arising from lead exposure have resulted in the reduced use and in some places total ban of the same. Lead is a naturally occurring metal with a relatively low melting point. This implies that lead-based solder is very easy to work with due to its low liquidus. The lead-tin alloy for example has liquidus of a relatively low 370 degrees Fahrenheit.