Clara Viñas, from the Inorganic Materials and Catalysis Lab, explains in the article that it was not until 1808 that Boron was isolated, and in 1824 that it was identified as a new element. However, the mineral Borax was already used for its properties in ancient times, to produce glass and in the mummification process. Boric acid, produced from Borax in 1702 was used as antibacterial agent for a long time.
Boron forms stable compounds with a large amount of the elements of the periodic table, and it also forms 3D structures, called boranes, by bonding with other Boron atoms (B-B bonds). Morover, one of its isotopes, the non-radioactive isotope boron-10 (10B) can capture thermal neutrons, producing then a nuclear reaction and liberating energy. This is the base for boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) used in cancer treatment, and the base for controlling the production of nuclear energy inside nuclear reactors.
If you want to know more about Boron, download the article here (An. Quím., 115 (2), 2019)!
Some curiosities about Boron:
- Iit is one of the hardests elements of the periodic table
- It is mainly extracted from Death Valley, in California
- It has a non-radiactive isotope which captures thermal neutrons
- Chemically speaking it is very similar to carbon
- On September 5, 2017, scientists reported that the Curiosity rover detected boron, an essential ingredient for life on Earth, on the planet Mars
- In the United States, 70% of the boron is used for the production of glass and ceramics
- Borosilicate glass, which is typically 12–15% B2O3, 80% SiO2, and 2% Al2O3, has a low coefficient of thermal expansion giving it a good resistance to thermal shock
- Boron is a component of neodymium magnets (Nd2Fe14B), which are among the strongest type of permanent magnet
- Boron is an essential plant nutrient, required primarily for maintaining the integrity of cell walls
- Carboranes are electron-delocalized (non-classically bonded) clusters composed of boron, carbon and hydrogen atoms that may also contain other metallic and nonmetallic elements in the cluster framework