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 as other advantages (see Controls viscosity, Balances alkalinity, Affects temperature).

Borax.Applications

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. (Also see Balances alkalinity.)

Borax.Applications
Smart Suds: Boron Makes Detergent Work Smarter, Not Harder
U.S. Borax researchers unlocked a solution for catalyzing sodium perborate to enhance the stain-fighting properties of washing detergent—safely and econ... 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, and more. (See also Removes oil, soil, and other stains.)

Borax.Applications
Smart Suds: Boron Makes Detergent Work Smarter, Not Harder
U.S. Borax researchers unlocked a solution for catalyzing sodium perborate to enhance the stain-fighting properties of washing detergent—safely and econ... 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

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; to emulsify waxes and paraffins for use in lotions, creams, and ointments; and to reduce glass viscosity during the formation of glass and glazes. (See also Acts as a lubricant.)
Borax.Applications
Borosilicate Glass: How U.S. Borax Helped Develop the Glass Industry
Borates are essential in glassmaking for increasing thermal shock resistance, durability, and appearance of finished products. The development of borosil... Learn More
Boric Oxide for Insulation Fiberglass
Boric oxide is widely used in fiberglass formulations because it has remarkable and relevant glass-forming, fluxing, and viscosity-lowering properties. Learn ... 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.
Borax.Applications
Vitreous Virtues
Vitreous enameling—the fusing of a thin layer of glass to a metal base—is virtually impossible to achieve on large areas unless the glass has a hi... 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. For example, 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. (See also Controls viscosity.)
Borax.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. (See also Absorbs infrared light.)
Borax.Applications
Borosilicate Glass: How U.S. Borax Helped Develop the Glass Industry
Borates are essential in glassmaking for increasing thermal shock resistance, durability, and appearance of finished products. The development of borosil... Learn More
Boric Oxide for Insulation Fiberglass
Boric oxide is widely used in fiberglass formulations because it has remarkable and relevant glass-forming, fluxing, and viscosity-lowering properties. Learn ... 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.
Borax.Applications

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.
Borax.Applications

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.
Borax.Applications

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.
Borax.Applications
Borosilicate Glass: How U.S. Borax Helped Develop the Glass Industry
Borates are essential in glassmaking for increasing thermal shock resistance, durability, and appearance of finished products. The development of borosil... Learn More
Boric Oxide for Insulation Fiberglass
Boric oxide is widely used in fiberglass formulations because it has remarkable and relevant glass-forming, fluxing, and viscosity-lowering properties. Learn ... 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 © 2018 Rio Tinto. All Rights Reserved.