Soldering is a well known and widely used process where two or more metal items are joined together using a fusible alloy with a melting temperature that is lower than their own. The most commonly used solder is a fusible alloy consisting essentially of a tin and lead mixture.
The solder actually dissolves a small amount of the metal’s surface, at a temperature that is well below its melting point and joins with it. It is this solvent action of the solder alloy that causes it to fuse with and attach to the surface of the metal items being joined.
The solvent action that takes place, between the solder and the metal, makes the joint chemical (not just physical) in nature and causes the properties of the joint to differ from the original solder’s properties and from those of the surface of the metal items being joined. When metal parts are joined by solder, a metallic continuity is established as a result of the interfaces where the solder is bonded to the metallic surfaces.
Courtesy of American Beauty Tools