Benefits for Today’s Industry

A world of possibilities

With myriad capabilities, refined boron and borates from U.S. Borax are a vital part of the industrial processes that create the products we use every day. From performance and cost improvements to environmental health and safety, borates provide a multitude of benefits for modern industry. Discover what U.S. Borax has to offer—for industry and consumers.

Controls moisture, inhibits corrosion/contamination

Controls moisture, inhibits corrosion/contamination

When borates are applied to ferrous (iron) and other metal surfaces, they form a thin, inert layer that helps to protect the metal. This passivative functionality can reduce the object’s susceptibility to moisture—and thus to corrosion—as well as other contaminants. Lubricants and additives made with boron inherit these anti-rust properties as well.

Applications
Borates in Oil Production Energize a Steady Supply
Oil is a staple of our energy supply, and its numerous other industrial uses mean that it will be in demand for some time to come. Using borates in oilfield c... Learn More

Removes oil, soil, and other stains

Removes oil, soil, and other stains

The ability of borates to affect alkalinity—and thus to promote the formation of negative charges on fabrics and soils—make U.S. Borax products especially effective at removing soil and helping to prevent it from being redeposited on fabrics. Borates also reduce interfacial tensions between detergent liquors and fatty soils, helping to remove oily soils and stains. Plus, perborates—a form of oxidized borate that contains a peroxide link—are a convenient source of active oxygen, providing non-chlorinated bleaching and stain removal.

Applications
Clean Up with Boron
Think 20 Mule Team Borax™ detergent booster is just for clothes? Think again. Learn More
Borates in Detergents for Better Laundry Care
More than 100 years ago, borates were added to detergents to create a better way to clean clothes. Today, borates in detergents are universal and offer greate... Learn More

Balances alkalinity (pH)

Balances alkalinity (pH)

Borates help to balance acidity and alkalinity—a process known as buffering. This ability has numerous uses, including:

  • Inhibiting corrosion
  • Water treatment
  • Optimizing color levels in dyeing processes
  • Preventing cracking and pitting during electroplating
  • Achieving correct color balance in photography processing solutions
  • Creating neutral glass for pharmaceutical uses
Applications
Borates to Control Emissions: Reducing the Friction of Change
Global scientists are looking at all options for solutions to reduce energy consumption and emissions from vehicles. Borates play a vital role in optimizing e... Learn More
Borates in Oil Production Energize a Steady Supply
Oil is a staple of our energy supply, and its numerous other industrial uses mean that it will be in demand for some time to come. Using borates in oilfield c... Learn More

Controls viscosity

Controls viscosity
Borates react with suitable alcohols and carbohydrates to link them together chemically. As a result, the viscosity of the fluid can be controlled. This effect can produce starch adhesives and affect their flow rates and their ability to retain or repel water. This cross-linking behavior can also be used to:
  • Produce fluids that are used in oil recovery
  • Emulsify waxes and paraffins for use in lotions, creams, and ointments
  • Reduce glass viscosity during the formation of glass and glazes
Applications
Borates Add Elemental Improvements to Engine Intake Filters
Always essential, always multifunctional, borates add strength, resilience, and improved performance to the filters that improve engine efficiency and extend ... Learn More
Borates to Control Emissions: Reducing the Friction of Change
Global scientists are looking at all options for solutions to reduce energy consumption and emissions from vehicles. Borates play a vital role in optimizing e... Learn More

Increases resistance to fungi, bacteria, and pests

Increases resistance to fungi, bacteria, and pests
Borates can inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi and protect against damage by wood-destroying insects, such as termites. For this reason, borates are widely used to improve the durability of wood and wood-based construction products. They are also used in the formulation of some insecticidal products, as well as to control bacteria and fungi in detergents and personal care items.
Applications
Working on the Railroad: Borates Protect Wood Crossties for Safety and Sustainability
The North American rail system runs on top of millions of wooden crossties. Borates provide wood protection that increases the service life, safety, and susta... Learn More
Protecting Environmentally Sustainable Building Materials with Borates
The search for more environmentally sustainable building materials leads to continuous innovations. Borates provide antipest and antifungal properties that en... Learn More

Acts as a lubricant

Acts as a lubricant
Although borides (compounds formed of boron and metallic elements) can be used as effective abrasives, borates are also used to manufacture extremely effective lubricants. Borate polyols and polyamines in lubricants form a low-viscosity, resilient film on metal load-bearing surfaces, improving load capacity and protecting against wear and tear. Potassium borates are used in high-pressure lubricants, thanks to their stable dispersion of microspheres.
Applications

Increases resistance to heat and chemicals

Increases resistance to heat and chemicals
As a component of borosilicate glass, which contains between 5 and 20% boric oxide, borates improve resistance to thermal shock, increase aqueous durability and mechanical strength, imbue electrical neutrality, and modify the glass structurally to make it resistant to heat and chemicals. Borates can lower melting temperatures to facilitate the production of durable fiberglass, specialty glass, and ceramic glazes—important components in televisions, computers, and mobile device display panels. And, borates are used in intumescent coatings for steel.
Applications
Borates in Glass Manufacturing: Unbreakable Benefits, Unbeatable Versatility
Glass is an essential product for modern living, and glass manufacturers are working to build a sustainable path for the industry’s future. Learn More
Borates Add Elemental Improvements to Engine Intake Filters
Always essential, always multifunctional, borates add strength, resilience, and improved performance to the filters that improve engine efficiency and extend ... Learn More

Absorbs infrared light

Absorbs infrared light
Borates absorb infrared light and radiation. Incorporated into building products, such as insulation fiberglass, borates improve energy efficiency by preventing heat loss through infrared transmission. This effect can also be applied in plastics, coatings, and other materials.
Applications
Borates Power Up Energy Efficiency Efforts
From increasing home efficiency to maintaining sustainable policies at our own facilities, U.S. Borax and the borates we produce help reduce energy use and co... Learn More

Absorbs neutrons

Absorbs neutrons
Boron is unique in its ability to capture neutrons, due to the natural presence of the 10B isotope of boron (~20% natural abundance). This radiation-absorbing effect is used in the shielding, control, and safety of nuclear reactors and in emerging and experimental cancer treatments, in which neutron capture is harnessed to perform effective microsurgery.
Applications
Never Another Chernobyl: Boron in Nuclear Energy Helps Ensure Safety
Nuclear energy today is safer than ever, in no small part due to the beneficial properties of boron for containing nuclear reactions. Learn More

Acts as a flame retardant

Acts as a flame retardant
Borates are used as fire retardants in cotton batting, wood, and cellulose insulation. Specialized borate compounds, such as zinc borates, are used as fire retardants, char promoters, and smoke suppressant additives in polymers.
Applications
Changing Urban Skylines with Boron Wood Treatment in CLT Buildings
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is increasingly viewed as a viable, sustainable alternative to steel and concrete in construction. U.S. Borax is helping research... Learn More
Borates Are the Multi-Tool for Fire Safety in Plastics and Polymers
Borates provide a multifunctional approach to promoting fire retardancy in the polymers and plastics that are prevalent in today’s homes and business co... Learn More

Acts as a fluxing agent and alloying element

Acts as a fluxing  agent and alloying element
Borates make excellent fluxes—a chemical cleaning, flowing, or purifying agent—used to remove oxide impurities from metals and reduce melting points in metallurgy and other applications. When added to steel and aluminum, borates also produce especially hard, corrosion-resistant alloys. Other metallurgical benefits include the production of super-strong magnets and the stabilization of slags.
Applications
Borates in Glass Manufacturing: Unbreakable Benefits, Unbeatable Versatility
Glass is an essential product for modern living, and glass manufacturers are working to build a sustainable path for the industry’s future. Learn More
Borosilicate Glass Solves Safety Problem in Lighting the Chunnel
Few engineering challenges are as tricky as those that were met during the construction of the Channel Tunnel between England and France. Fortunately, the pro... Learn More

Looking for more information about BORON?

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

Copyright © 2019 Rio Tinto. All Rights Reserved.