The kitchen and utility room are two of the most borate-rich places in the home. Borates bring convenience, safety, and cleanliness to cooking and domestic chores. Made from boron, borosilicate glass and enamels can withstand high temperatures making it especially useful around the kitchen.
Ceramic wall and floor tiles are popular and attractive—and available in a huge range of patterns, designs, and colors. Billions are made every with a borosilicate glaze.
On the cutting edge
Metal borides are very hard substances with high melting points. Carbon can also combine with boron to form a very hard substance—boron carbide (B4
C) which approaches the hardness of diamond. It is used to coat domestic knife sharpeners.
The microwave has revolutionized the kitchen—giving people the ability to cook in minutes. Many microwaves come with a hygienic borosilicate enamel linin, which has been found to use less energy and so reduce the destruction of vitamins. Digital timers use a liquid crystal display which has a thin-film transistor made from borosilicate glass.
Opening the oven door to check on what’s inside allows heat to escape, extending cooking times. With a glass door—made of borosilicate to withstand high temperatures—you can watch food without heat loss.
That sinking feeling
Many sinks and drainers are enamel-coated steel. They are hard, durable, attractive, and easy to clean. The glassy enamel coat contains nearly 10% borate which aids in the melting of the glass and its adhesion to the steel. If you have a translucent all-glass sink, it’s made of borosilicate glass.
Borate-enameled steel is used for its durability and simple cleaning on washing machines, dryers, stoves and refrigerators.
For that special occasion
When you get out the best silverware and lay out the fine porcelain, you’re putting borates on the dinner table. Silversmiths use a borate flux to craft their cutlery, and chinaware has a borate glaze.
In the dark?
Not with borosilicate glass light bulbs, which are able to withstand the high-temperature rigors of low-energy spot lights and halogen bulbs.
For the pot
Glass cookware, such as Pyrex* pots, pans, bowls, and dishes take the heat because of the boron in the glass. Without it there to alter the glass’ thermal expansion properties, the utensil would quickly shatter.
In the book and on the shelf
Cooking in the kitchen starts with borates in your hands. Consult a cookbook or reach for a carton and the adhesives that hold it together include borates. The borate improves stickiness and makes adhesives easier to apply in manufacturing.
All washed up
Detergents for dishwashing and clothes washing may well contain a perborate bleaching agent, often with a special activator for lower temperature usage.
* Pyrex is a trademark of Corning, Inc.
Ceramics, enamels, and glazes
Glass and textile fiberglass
Cleaners and detergents
Adhesives, caulks, and sealants