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Boron B
Atomic No. - 5

Boron nitride can be used to make materials that are almost as hard as diamond.

The History Says

Boron minerals, especially borax were traded more than thousand years ago. Then, sheep, camel and yak caravans transportaed borax from desert salt beds in Persia and Tibet to the Arab countries and also to India, mainly for making glass.

The Present Scenario

Boron's effect on animals is under study. Still there is no evidence of boron being necessary for animal health, though a small quantity might stimulate bone and muscle growth. Parallel to it, it is also an important trace element for green algae and higher plants used in agriculture.

BORON, a semi-metallic element, exhibits some properties of metal as well as of non-metal. It is dark, amorphous and unreactive solid in its elemental form. It occurs abundantly in the borax ore. The metallic form of boran is hard and a bad conductor in room temperatures. It is never found free in nature. Crystalline boron exists in many polymorphs. Boron is also similar to carbon because of its capability of forming stable covalent bonded molecular networks.

Boron has a deficiency of electrons and possesses a vacant p-orbital. It is an electrophile, attracted to electrons. Compounds of boron often behave as Lewis acids. It transmits infrared light. It is a poor electrical conductor at standard temperatures. Boron nitride is used to make harder materials. This element also has a lubricating quality like graphite.

The name 'boron' has been derived from the mineral borax. It is thought to have come from the Persian name 'burah,' which meant this particular mineral. The element boron was identified in 1808 by Sir Humphrey Davy of England, and Joseph-Louis Gay-Lussac and Louis Jacques Thenard of France. They discovered that it can be produced by combining boric acid (H3BO3) and metallic potassium.

Physical Properties of Boron

Phase Solid
Density (near room temperature) 2.34 g/cm3
Liquid density at melting point 2.08 g/cm3
Melting point 2349 K (2076°C, 3769°F)
Boiling point 4200 K (3927°C, 7101°F)
Heat of fusion 50.2 kJ/mol
Heat of vaporization 480 kJ/mol
Heat capacity (25°C) 11.087 J/(mol-K)

Atomic Properties of Boron

Crystal structure Rhombohedral
Oxidation states 3 (mildly acidic oxide)
Electronegativity 2.04 (Pauling scale)
Ionization energies 1st: 800.6 kJ/mol
2nd: 2427.1 kJ/mol
3rd: 3659.7 kJ/mol
Atomic radius 85 pm
Atomic radius (calc.) 87 pm
Covalent radius 82 pm

Uses of Boron

Substitutes and Alternative Sources of Boron

Boron compounds are replaced by chlorine and enzymes in detergents. Making of enamels and glass products, lithium compounds are used. However, the boron ores, which has been known, can easily last meeting the demands for boron compounds for many coming years.

Occurrences of Boron

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