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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Boron  is a chemical element with atomic number 5 and the chemical symbol B.
  • Boron is a trivalent nonmetallic element which occurs abundantly in the evaporite ores borax and ulexite.
  • Amorphous boron is a brown powder, though crystalline boron is black, hard (9.3 on Mohs' scale), and a weak conductor at room temperature.
  • Elemental boron is used as a dopant in the semiconductor industry, while boron compounds play important roles as light structural materials,  nontoxic insecticides and preservatives, and reagents for chemical synthesis.

Application

  • B isotope is used for reactivity control; pure boron and, especially its alloys are used in neutron absorbers for manufacturing control rods and  reactors for nuclear power plants.
  • The diamond-like allotrope of boron nitride, one of the hardest materials known but is softer than materials such as diamond, known under a name  Borazon, is widely used as an abrasive for industrial tools.
  • In molten metal and metal forming operations, boron nitride coatings can be applied to surfaces which come in contact with hot and molten metals.
  • A coating of boron nitride on the mold surface will inhibit corrosion, reduce chemical attack, and provide easier release, cleaner formed shapes, and  longer mold/die life.

Synthesis

  • Boron nitride (BN) nanotubes have been produced from elemental boron powder using a new low-temperature process, which involves ball milling  of boron powder in ammonia gas at room temperature, and followed by annealing at temperatures up to 1300 C in nitrogen gas.
  • Boron-substituted PA-MP was synthesized by copyrolysis of a filtered coal tar pitch with borane complexes.Ball milling induces nitriding reactions between the boron powder and the ammonia gas with the formation of a disordered BN phase.
  • BN nanotubes then grow out during the subsequent heat treatment. This novel process for forming BN nanotubes is distinctly different from arc  discharge and laser-heating processes.

Market

  • Demand for refined borates, especially boric acid and sodium borates, is doing moderately well at present. Market conditions are positive, with  prices for borates steady, though producers say they have not quite kept up with rising production costs.
  • Estimated global consumption of boron rose to a record 1.8Mt B2O3 in 2005 following a period of strong growth in demand from Asia, Europe and North America.
  • The rise in global demand has been driven by high rates of growth in fibreglass and borosilicate production.The recent rises in energy prices can be  expected to lead to greater use of insulation grade fibreglass, with consequent growth in the use of boron.
  • A rapid increase in the manufacture of reinforcement grade fibreglass in Asia with a consequent increase in demand for borates has offset the development of boron free reinforcement grade fibreglass in Europe and the USA.
     

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