Dehybor: Lightening the Load for Heavy Industry

:: Thursday, July 15, 2021 :: Posted By Maryam Moravej

When global economies expand and contract, economists keep a close eye on heavy industry. Also known as large-scale industry, this is a category of manufacturing that is often the leading indicator in an economic recovery. Why? Because without the products that come from heavy industry, many other manufacturers can’t produce their products.

Heavy industry manufacturers are the producers of essentials like industrial ceramics and glass, steel, oil, tiles, and plumbing fixtures. These are the manufacturers that lay the foundations on which we build our modern life.

Because heavy industry also requires heavy upfront investments—in equipment, factories, people, and materials—these manufacturers need to make the most of the inputs that go into their processes. For that reason, many heavy industry manufacturers rely on 20 Mule Team® Borax Dehybor® as their go-to borate.

Dehybor checks the right boxes for heavy industry manufacturers

In heavy industry applications, optimization of operations is the constant goal. These manufacturers are seeking continuous improvements in everything from their formulations to their product quality. They require inputs that enable:

  • Upfront cost efficiency
  • Increased yield
  • Reduced energy consumption

Right away, Dehybor checks many of the most important boxes for manufacturers.

  • Dehybor is a concentrated source of boric oxide (B2O3), so for many formulations, manufactures can use less
  • Manufacturers can optimize handling and storage costs by timing their orders for just-in-time delivery
  • Dehybor is available in multiple grades—12-Mesh, 30-Mesh, Fine, and Extra Fine—so it’s easy to find the right grade for a given application and for specific process conditions
  • The hard, glassy, granular material is free-flowing and easy to handle

Beyond these initial benefits, Dehybor is a reliable, consistent input that delivers the best and most important borate properties to any process.

Borates in metallurgy: Purity matters

Borates are used in the production of steel and non-ferrous metals, alloys, rare earth magnets, amorphous metals, welding fluxes, and plating compounds. In the production of metals and gold, they provide a variety of essential functions in which the quality of the borates can influence the result.

For example, during smelting operations, borates act as a flux that dissolves metallic oxide impurities. Those impurities are then removed with the slag, leaving a refined metal product. In the case of precious metal recovery, Dehybor is especially useful because it melts at a sufficiently low temperature to minimize the loss of precious metal during the process.

Borates in metallurgy applications must meet some key requirements:

  • Low impurities
  • Consistent granulometry
  • Anhydrous to prevent “spit and crackle” problems

Dehybor meets these needs, providing a reliable and effective input.

Borates in steel slag stabilization

Steel slags have a variety of compositions and, after cooling, take various forms. Most steel slags form hard rock-like materials when they cool. However, some slags—such as those from the production of stainless steel—form dusty powders that are not only a nuisance but also an environmental hazard. Adding B2O3 as a slag modifier turns the slag into a stable material—eliminating the issue.

Dehybor turns out to be an ideal source of B2O3 in this application. It offers a low melting point (750° C) and fine, glassy particles that enable more complete mixing of the borate. Dehybor also provides sodium oxide at levels that help reduce viscosity of the slag. And because it is anhydrous, there isn’t a risk of explosion as virtually no steam is generated in the process.

For steel manufacturers, less slag dust means:

  • Savings on slag handling and treatment
  • Lower landfill and disposal costs
  • Better regulatory and community relations

Some steel plants even derive additional revenue from saleable slag.

Borates in glassmaking: Benefits during and after

Glass is one of the most versatile and widely used materials in the world. It can be drawn to incredible fineness to produce fiberglass. It can be fashioned into containers that are heat, scratch, and shock resistant for cooking and laboratories. It can be made pure enough for medical and pharmaceutical applications. It can be made durable enough to withstand the daily abuse of smartphone users. It protects and enhances our eyesight, decorates our walls and floors, and protects solar cells on satellites from the harmful radiation encountered in outer space.

Borates have been used in glassmaking for centuries because they enhance both the process and the end product.

As a significant component in the mix, the B2O3 from Dehybor functions as both a flux and network former. Dehybor lowers the required melting temperature of the glass while simultaneously inhibiting crystallization, which makes processing easier.

Because it lowers viscosity, controls thermal expansion, and inhibits devitrification, Dehybor increases the final product’s durability and chemical resistance and reduces susceptibility to mechanical or thermal shock.

When used in electronics or aerospace applications, Dehybor helps control dielectric properties—making the resulting glass perfect for printed circuit boards, microelectromechanical systems, and thermal insulation tiles like those on the U.S. space shuttle.

Dehybor: An essential component for producing essential products

Borates are important in heavy industry manufacturing because they bring combined properties that would be either technically impossible or prohibitively expensive to achieve in other ways.

Whether as an additive or a major component of a technical of chemical process, Dehybor gives manufactures the consistency, precision, and cost-efficiency they need as they optimize their operations.

To learn more about Dehybor, download our product data sheet (PDF). To determine whether Dehybor is right for your formulation, contact us to request a product sample.



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 650 customers with more than 1,800 delivery locations globally. We supply around 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.  Learn more about Rio Tinto.

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