If you had the notion that we were done with Boron facts, you were plain wrong! There’s much more to say about this fascinating element which, Artem Oganov (professor at Stony Brook University) termed as ‘Truly Schizophrenic Element’. So, we take a quick look at another list of 30 facts about Boron and know what surprises this element holds.
|Boron Abundance||By Weight: Parts Per Million (PPM) or Parts Per Billion (PPB)||By Moles: Parts Per Million (PPM) or Parts Per Billion (PPB)|
|Earth’s Crust||10 PPM||1 PPM|
|Solar System||2 PPB||0.2 PPB|
Boron Fun Facts: 1-5
1. Boron as an element is very rare in our entire solar system. Did you know that our Earth’s crust consists of merely 0.001% Boron? That’s pretty rare, right? However, did you know that compounds of Boron are pretty common!
2. Just how common is Boron compounds? Here you go! There are at least 100 minerals where you will find Boron.
3. If that isn’t satisfying you, here is something else you need to know. Any food that we eat that comes from plant sources will invariably contain Boron. Why like that? That’s because, Boron is an essential element needed by all green plants. Boron is found in the walls of every cell of every plant studied till now.
4. Now that question – is Boron toxic? Well, no, not really! Boron is not toxic unless of course you think of taking it is large quantities.
5. Boron has the ability of transmitting portions of IR or Infrared light. That’s incredible!
Boron Fun Facts: 6-10
6. Heat Boron to pretty high temperatures and this element which used to poorly conduct electricity at room temperature will suddenly become a very good conductor of electricity.
7. Boron is very very good at absorbing neutrons. It is this property of Boron which makes its an extremely useful element when it comes to controlling nuclear reactions. Nuclear reactors have control rods. These control rods are made by alloying steel with Boron or mixing Boron with other elements like carbon, zirconium or titanium.
8. You may be wondering what really happens and what type of nuclear reaction is in question. Boron is used for nuclear fission reactions where careening neutrons are made to bombard with atoms of uranium.
9. We are talking of atomic level. So there are actually hundreds of thousands and even millions of atoms and neutrons out there in the reactor. If they are just allowed to react freely, the reaction will soon become uncontrollable and the reactor will reach supercritical state.
10. It is because of this, it is very necessary to ensure that one fission event that is taking place leads to no more than just one more fission reaction. This can be done only when neutrons are absorbed as quickly as they are released. This is where the control rods come in. Boron in these rods immediately absorb the neutrons, preventing a runaway reaction.
Boron Fun Facts: 11-15
11. Wondering which Boron isotope is used for controlling nuclear reactions? It is 10B – one of the two naturally occurring and stable isotopes.
12. Boron might have played a very critical role in the evolution of life on Earth. Did you know that RNA or Ribonucleic Acid has a part called Ribose? This Ribose needs to stay stable. The element that helps in maintaining the stability of Ribose is none other than Boron.
13. RNA is basically a self-assembling molecule and scientists hold the view that RNA might have come before DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid). Worth mentioning here that viruses that often wreak havoc on us are nothing but strands of RNA that keep on moving constantly. Now, what is RNA? Right! A self-assembling molecule. This explains why viruses are so dangerous.
14. Coming back to the point. A study took place back in 2014 in the month of June. It was found that a rock on Earth, which is 3.8 billion years old (in simple words, oldest rock on Earth) has Boron in it. This made the scientific community believe that Boron might have played a vital role in evolution of life on Earth because Boron is essential to build RNA.
15. Alternately, some even think that perhaps Boron was not in the evolution process but the first RNA actually got Boron from outer space. In 2013 another study was conducted where a meteorite from Mars was studied. That meteorite fell in Antarctica. What was found was that the meteorite’s Boron content was 10x higher compared to any extraterrestrial object that was measured by scientists previously.
Boron Fun Facts: 16-20
16. We mentioned this in our previous article on Boron facts but here is a better explanation for the question: “how was Boron formed?” Here are the steps that scientists usually agree upon:
- First Big Bang took place.
- Cosmic rays bombarded on various objects. Cosmic rays are nothing but charged and highly energetic particles in form of alpha particles, protons and nuclei of various heavy elements.
- This bombardment of cosmic rays on various objects led to nuclear fission reaction as well as nucleosynthesis.
- This whole process is called Cosmic Ray Spallation. It is this process that led to formation of Boron. So, Boron was not formed by nuclear fusion inside stars.
17. We said earlier that Boron is present in all green plants. But exactly where? Plants have stem cells in their portions known as meristems. It turns out that these stem cells produce all other types of cells that are present in a plant. Scientists have found that Boron is an essential element for meristems. Take out Boron from meristems and they will simply wither.
18. Boron in its elemental form is mostly used in high tech applications. For examples, filaments or fibers of Boron are usually found in materials that are considered as high tensile. For example, composite material that are mostly used in aerospace applications. Boron is added in such material. Even high quality sports gear such as golf clubs and even fishing rods make use of Boron.
19. One of the most important uses of Boron is manufacturing of neodymium magnets, which are extremely powerful magnets made of Boron and Iron alloy. These magnets are found in speakers of cell phones, hard drives of computers, electric vehicles, extremely powerful drive motors and more.
20. Boron is used for making borosilicate glass. This is way different from normal glass. Borosilicate glass does not expand when heated and hence, they are usually found in reflecting telescope. NASA’s space shuttles make use of a coating of borosilicate glass to attain thermal insulation.
Boron Fun Facts: 21-25
21. Majority of the Boron that is extracted is used for manufacturing Boric Acid. Boric acid is used as a preservative, an insecticide and even as pH buffer.
22. Boric Acid is also used as antifungal agent or antiseptic in medical world.
23. Have you ever been into swimming pools? What do you think is used for keep the water in the pools clear? It is nothing other than Boric Acid.
24. In school and college laboratories and in high tech scientific laboratories, glassware that are used are usually made of borosilicate glass.
25. Borax is yet another widely used Boron compound. Snake skins often require some cure. Borax is that substance that is used to give our not so beloved serpents some relief from skin issues.
Boron Fun Facts: 26-30
26. Borax is low toxicity to humans. This is one of the primary reasons why borax is commonly used as insecticide.
27. There is something called heterodiamond. This is made using Boron, Nitrogen and Carbon. It is has extreme resistance to heat and is extremely hard.
28. Boron and Boron compounds when put to flame test actually produce a bright green light. Ever wondered what gave the green light in firecrackers. Now you know, don’t you?
29. United States and Turkey are two largest borax producers in world. Actually, we are talking of borax mines here. World’s largest borax mine is in Mohave Desert in California. California actually has a place called Boron, which is located in Kern County. The borax mine is located there.
30. Talk of military applications and Boron has made its way even there. Bullet proof vests and tank armor make use of Boron Carbide.
That concludes our article on Boron facts. Hope you enjoyed this article. In case you want to add a few more facts, feel free to drop comments.