Boron: Boron and Boron Compounds Essay

Submitted By JLJello
Words: 1352
Pages: 6

Boron is a very hard, brownish-black element in Group 13, Period 2 of the Periodic Table. It is different from the rest of its group because it is a semimetal. Semimetals are elements that have attributes of both metals and non-metals. They can somewhat conduct electricity and have a bit of lustre. Boron has the atomic number of 5, an atomic mass of 10.811, and a mass number of 11. Boron has five protons, six neutrons, and five electrons. It has three electrons in its valence shell. Protons, electrons, and neutrons are subatomic particles in an atom. Protons are positively charged particles, electrons are negatively charged, and neutrons are neutrals. Boron does not occur naturally. Instead, it is found in the forms of its compounds, such as borax and boric acid. [1]
Boron is produced by the mining of minerals containing boron in certain deposits in several countries. The two biggest producers of boron are Turkey and the U.S. Argentina, Chile, Russia, China, and Peru also produce boron. In 1994, the total production of boron minerals worldwide was about 2 750 000 tonnes. [4]
Boron was first mentioned by a Persian alchemist, Rhazes (c.865-c.925), who recorded compounds of boron in his book. Rhazes classified minerals into 6 classes; one of them called “boraces” and contained borax, a common compound of boron. [1]
In 1808, an English chemist named Humphry Davy (1778-1829) had just found a way to isolate most active metals and was began working on a way to separate boron from its compounds. Around the same time, two French chemists, Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac and Louis Jacques Thênard found a way to remove boron from compounds by boiling boric acid with potassium. However, the boron was impure. In 1892, French chemist Henri Moissan produced a sample of boron that was 98% pure. [1]
Two naturally occurring stable isotopes of boron are boron-10 and boron-11, boron-10 able to absorb neutrons. There are also three types of radioactive boron isotopes, though none are used often for commercial purposes. Boron also has many allotropes, which are forms of boron with different physical or chemical properties. The most common minerals of boron are borax, kernite, colemanite, and ulexite, most of them formed as white crystalline deposits in desert areas. The abundance of boron in the Earth’s crust is 10 parts per 1 000 000, which is about average in terms of element abundance. [1] The boron concentration in the ocean is around 4.5 mg/litre. [4]
Boron is not soluble in water, but boron in the form of a powder compound reacts with hot nitric acid, hot sulphuric acid, and molten metals. [1] Boron is very heat resistant, and has a melting point of 2075 degrees Celsius and a boiling point of 4000 degrees Celsius. [2] Two of boron’s hardest compounds are boron carbide and boron nitride. In fact, boron nitride may be the hardest substance known! The boiling point of boron carbide is 2 350 degrees Celsius, while boron nitride’s is 3000 degrees Celsius! [1]

Boron compounds have been used by people for centuries. Borax, a boron compound, has been used by craftsmen to reduce the melting point of glass-making materials, to melt metal ores, and to isolate metals from ores for a very long time. [1]
Since boron-10 is very good at absorbing neutrons, it is used in control rods of nuclear reactors to slow down the nuclear reactions. Boron alloys are used as materials for magnets in microphones and headphones, magnetic switches, loudspeakers, particle accelerators, and other technical applications. Some of the most powerful magnets known to man also have boron compounds as key materials. [1]
Boron compounds are also used to make enamels, pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers, fireworks, bleach, and flame retardants. Soaps, detergents, and fabric softeners are also made from boron compounds. Boron carbide and boron nitride are used for military aircrafts, space crafts, heat shields, and heat-resisting fibres. Lipsticks, face