Mechanistic understanding of aerosol emissions from a brazing operation

Anthony T. Zimmer, Pratim Biswas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Welding operations produce gaseous and aerosol by-products that can have adverse health effects. A laboratory furnace study was conducted to aid understanding of the chemical and aerosol behavior of a widely used, self- fluxing brazing alloy (89% Cu, 6% Ag, 5% P) that is also used with a supplemental fluxing compound to prevent oxidation at the molten metal surface. The results indicate that the aerosols generated by the alloy are transient (produced over a short duration of time) and are associated with mass transfer of phosphorus species from the molten metal surface to the surrounding gas. In contrast, when the alloy was used in conjunction with the supplemental fluxing compound, a relatively nontransient, submicron-size aerosol was generated that was several orders of magnitude higher in concentration. Thermodynamic equilibrium analysis suggests that fluoride (a major constituent in the fluxing compound) played a significant role in reacting with the brazing alloy metals to form gas phase metal fluoride compounds that had high vapor pressures when compared with their elemental or oxide forms. As these metal-fluoride vapors cooled, submicron-size particles were formed mainly through nucleation and condensation growth processes. In addition; the equilibrium results revealed the potential formation of severe pulmonary irritants (HF and BF3) from heating the supplemental fluxing compound. These results demonstrated the importance of fluxing compounds in the formation of brazing fumes, and suggest that fluxing compounds could be selected that serve their metallurgical intention and suppress the formation of aerosols.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-361
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Industrial Hygiene Association Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Aerosols
  • Brazing
  • Chemical
  • Equilibrium analysis fumes
  • Welding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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