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Science Innovation Centre · 005 · Boron

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Boron is a non-metallic element and the only non-metal of the group 13 of the periodic table the elements. Boron is electron-deficient, possessing a vacant p-orbital. It has several forms, the most common of which is amorphous boron, a dark powder, unreactive to oxygen, water, acids and alkalis. It reacts with metals to form borides. At standard temperatures boron is a poor electrical conductor but is a good conductor at high temperatures.

The most economically important compound of boron is sodium tetra borate decahydrate Na2B4O7 ‧ 10H2O, or borax, used for insulating fiberglass and sodium perborate bleach. Boric acid is an important compound used in textile products.

Compounds of boron are used in organic synthesis, in the manufacture of a particular type of glasses, and as wood preservatives. Boron filaments are used for advanced aerospace structures, due to their high-strength and light weight.

An early use of borax was to make perborate, the beaching agent once widely used in household detergents. Boron compound also came into the average home in the guise of food preservatives, especially for margarine and fish.

At standard temperatures boron is a poor electrical conductor but is a good conductor at high temperatures.