Intro to Boron

Topics: Boron, Rocket, Humphry Davy Pages: 2 (719 words) Published: May 12, 2013
Kari Okubo
Per. 1
What is Boron?
Have you ever done the laundry and wondered what was in the detergent you use? Or if you watched a rocket launch into space have you wondered how it can even make it past earth? The answer to those questions is boron (B). Boron is a metalloid element with an atomic number of 5 and an atomic mass of 10.81. Its melting point is 2076 C and its boiling point is 3927 C. In 1808, Sir Humphrey Davy in France discovered this element when he reacted boric acid with potassium. At the same time Joseph-Louis Gay-Lussac and LJ Thernard also discovered boron as well in Paris. Boron is a very functional element that can be used as something simple like eye drops or used for something as complex as an engine igniter for rockets.

Boron is often in the form of a powder substance or in the form of a crystal. You cannot find boron in nature unless it’s in another compound such as borax. The United States and Turkey have the highest reserves of borax. However boron is usually found in other compounds in the real world since it is very difficult to isolate. The easiest way to get boron is by heating borax and carbon. Boron is a poor conductor of electricity at room temperature but when at high temperatures boron shows good conductivity. Boron is nonreactive to water, oxygen, acids and alkali.

One of the many uses for boron is cleaning supplies and laundry detergent. Boron is found in borax, which is in those supplies. The borax and other borates clean and bleach by converting some water molecules into hydrogen peroxide and since the pH of borax is 9.5 it produces a basic solution in water, which increases the effectiveness of bleach and other cleaners. Borates bond with other particles to keep ingredients dispersed evenly in a mixture, which maximizes the surface area of active particles to enhance the cleaning power. Also, the boron, oxygen and salt of borax prevent the metabolic process of organisms and therefore are used to...
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