a black semi-metallic
element found in some cleaning products
atomic weight 10.811 amu
melting point 2079°
boiling point 3927° C
In its crystalline form boron
is the second hardest of all elements (after carbon).
Boron has a capacity to form stable covalently
bonded molecular networks, making it similar to
Boron is a good electrical conductor at high
temperatures but a poor conductor of electricity
at room temperatures. Boron nitride also behaves
like an electrical insulator, but conducts heat
like a metal.
While some of the more exotic boron hydrogen
compounds are toxic and require special care,
elemental boron and common borates are considered
Boron does not occur in elemental form on
Earth, but many boron compounds are found in
sediments and sedimentary rock formations, and
boric acid is sometimes found in volcanic spring
waters. The most economically important sources
of boron are rasorite (aka kernite) and tincal
(aka borax ore), both of which are found in
abundance in the Mojave Desert of California and
in central and western Turkey.
Nearly all boron ore extracted from the Earth
is destined for refinement into boric acid, which
is used as a mild antiseptic and as a flame
retardant, and borax, which is used in making
fiberglass, as a cleansing fluid, a water
softener, insecticide, herbicide, and
Boron compounds are also used to create metal
alloys used in jet nozzles, rocket parts, tank
armor, bullet-resistance vests, high-temperature
equipment, and other applications requiring both
hardness and heat resistance.
Neodymium-Iron-Boron (NIB) magnets are used in
computers, cell phones, medical equipment, toys,
motors, wind turbines and audio systems.
The isotope boron-10 is used as a control for
nuclear reactors and as a shield for nuclear
radiation, and in instruments used for detecting
Boron compounds are also commonly used in
fireworks to produce a very distinctive green
Boron was first isolated in
1808 by English chemist Sir
Humphry Davy and,
independently, by French chemists Joseph Louis
Gay-Lussac and Louis Jacques Thenard.
The word "boron" was derived
from the Arabic word buraq, as well as
the Persian word burah, both of which
are words for the mineral borax, a boron compound
that has been used by man for hundreds of years.
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