Boron in Glass and Fiberglass

Bringing strength to glass from touchscreens to wind turbines

Applications of Boron and Borates

An essential part of industry—and everyday life

As an essential element, boron’s unique properties make it the best choice for a wealth of applications across multiple industries. From auto glass to lumber, insulation to agriculture—refined boron and borates from U.S. Borax are indispensable to many of the products we depend on for modern living.

Adhesives, Caulks, and Sealants

Borates' ability to affect alkalinity and its chemical cross-linking capabilities make them an excellent component of starch adhesives and a peptizing agent in the manufacture of casein- and dextrin-based adhesives. Read More

Agriculture

Boron is a micronutrient that is essential to plant growth. Boron is necessary for proper absorption of macronutrients and plays a key role in protecting soil health, supporting sustainable farming, and increasing both the nutrition and yield of crops. Read More

Batteries and Capacitors

Borates are components in the electrolyte of lithium ion batteries and supercapacitors and have been investigated in the surface treatment of graphite anodes for lithium ion batteries. Read More

Ceramics, Enamels, and Glazes

Borates can be incorporated into frits—glassy, silica-rich materials that are used in the manufacture of glazes and enamels—to make them insoluble and help reduce glass viscosity. This improves fit, luster, durability, and chemical resistance. Read More

Cleaners and Detergents

By enhancing stain removal and bleaching capabilities, stabilizing enzymes, buffering alkalinity, softening water, and boosting surfactant performance, borates’ cleaning uses extend beyond clothing and into the industrial workplace. Read More

Glass and Textile Fiberglass

Heat resistant, chemical resistant, scratch and shock resistant, borosilicate glass—made with silica and boron trioxide—provides strength and durability across a range of products from cell phones to solar panels. Read More

Fire Retardancy

U.S. Borax products are used in a variety of fire retardant applications, including polymer-based applications, cellulose protection, lumber and plywood. Read More

Industrial Fluids and Lubricants

Borates’ anticorrosive, antimicrobial, and pH-balancing capabilities make them useful components in industrial fluid formulations. From cleaning compounds to gear lubricants to metallurgy, borates keep numerous manufacturing processes running smoothly. Read More

Insulation and Polymers

In insultation fiberglass (glass wool), borates absorb infrared light, significantly increasing the performance of the insulation. Borates’ fire-retardant properties are also used in cellulosic insulation products. Read More

Metals and Gold

Borates make excellent fluxes and help protect ferrous metals from oxidation. In refractories, they help stabilize and extend the useful life of bonded firebricks and castables. Borates help harden steel and are used in the production of numerous alloys, amorphous metals, and rare-earth magnets. And, boron-hardened steel improves the safety of auto frames. Read More

Nuclear Energy

Borates play a key role in the operation of nuclear power plants and are essential in the safety and control of pressurized water reactors (PWRs). Boron carbide is also used in control rods, and borates are used as corrosion inhibitors and as a key safety feature of the emergency core cooling system. Read More

Oil and Gas Production

Borates’ cross-linking capabilities make them useful in the oil and gas industry. High-viscosity oil-well fluids made with borates and other substances can help in oil recovery. Read More

Pharmaceutical Use

The pharmaceutical industry is highly regulated and U.S. Borax EP grade products conform to the current edition of the European Pharmacopoeia, are in full compliance with the Good Manufacturing Practice guidelines, and conform to Certificate of Suitability. Read More

Wood Protection and Biocides

One of the most promising applications of borates today is in the treatment and protection of wood and wood products. Wood construction offers a multitude of benefits, but its use has traditionally been limited in areas that face high humidity, fungi, and pests like the Formosan subterranean termite. Read More

Other Applications

Borate solutions are an important component in a multitude of other products, including personal care products, patented partial borate autocausticizing (PBAC) technology, automotives, leather, gypsum board, wires, dyed nylon carpets, and water-treatment chemicals. Read More

As you can see, boron and borates are amazing substances--useful across a vast range of applications. If you have questions that aren’t answered on our applications pages, check out our frequently asked questions (FAQ).

U.S. Borax, part of Rio Tinto, is a global leader in the supply and science of borates—naturally-occurring minerals containing boron and other elements. We are 1,000 people serving 500 customers with more than 1,700 delivery locations globally. We supply 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles east of Los Angeles.  Learn more about Rio Tinto

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