Boron was discovered in 1808
and large-scale mining of borax took place during the 1880s in Death Valley, California.
Since then, principal boron ores are found in evaporated lake beds
in the southwestern United States in the form of borax,
Pure boron is a crystalline, high-melting substance having very low electrical and thermal
conductivity. It is almost as hard as diamond.
Boron and its compounds are widely used. These include:
- Borax, which is a slightly alkaline compound, is added to laundry detergents for pH control.
- Sodium perborate (NaBO3) is a mild but effective bleach (Clorox II).
- Trace amounts of boron is required for plant growth. Its salt is mixed with superphosphate and are
applied to the soils.
- Boron nitride and boron carbide are used as abrasives.
- Boron is used in soldering and welding as a flux it can dissolve metal oxide films.
- Dilute boric acid are used as mild antiseptics and antifungal agents.
- Boric oxide is a raw material used in the manufacture of glass.
Pyrex glassware is a type of borosilicate
glass in which some of the sodium and calcium
are replaced by boron.
- Alloys and polymers used in jet engines are strengthened by the addition of fibres of elemental boron.
- Boron or cadmium-containing control rods in nuclear reactors are
used to absorb neutrons to control the chain reaction to proceed at a steady rate.