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Optibor: Versatile Borate for Industrial Processes

:: Tuesday, June 23, 2020 :: Posted By Maryam Moravej
Quick: What do these have in common?
  • Bacon-onion jam
  • Braised pork belly with soy-mustard sauce and peanuts
  • Maple-bacon cinnamon rolls
If you said bacon, you’re right (and a master of the obvious). Each uses a single, simple, common component. But the different ways that bacon is used, cooked, and combined with other ingredients produce wildly different and unique dishes.
 
Borates have this kind of versatility. They’re a common component across industrial and manufacturing applications, but the properties they lend to those applications produce different results. Throughout history, borates have been used to improve the production and performance of a wide variety of industrial products. Glass, adhesives, paper…all benefit from borates.
 
Because of borates’ adaptability, humans have never stopped finding new uses for them. Today, they are an elemental component in thousands of products essential to modern life.
 
Of all the products that U.S. Borax produces, one comes up again and again across nearly every industry and application: Optibor®.
 

What makes Optibor’s form of boric oxide so versatile?

The key to the ubiquitous usefulness of Optibor is its simplicity. Optibor boric acids are a pure, multifunctional source of boric oxide (B2O3).
 
Theoretically composed of just boric oxide and water, Optibor is carefully refined and available in a range of gauges, from crystalline granules to very fine powder. Stable under normal conditions, even the finest varieties are free-flowing and easy to handle.
 
Optibor is also available in a range of grades for industrial and technical uses. Because Optibor is available in so many forms, manufacturing and industrial producers are able to select the product that provides optimal performance in their applications and under their specific operating conditions.
 

How is Optibor used across so many industrial applications?

The range of forms—and the diverse benefits that Optibor provides—makes for a product that can be easily applied across applications. Optibor is key in supporting the production of essentials from the mundane to the highly specialized.
 
Industrial metal cleaning: Optibor offers pH control and aids in the removal of oils and soils. In addition, it is a moderate abrasive, and its water-softening and anti-corrosive qualities make it excellent for cleaning metal surfaces that have contacted organic materials, dilute salt solutions, or food products. Optibor solutions also help remove lubricant deposits and inhibit tarnish and corrosion.
 
Industrial materials: Borates’ ability to resist heat and chemicals makes them a natural aid in the production of ceramics, enamels, and glazes. And, because the B2O3 in Optibor is both a flux and a network former, it assists the melt and influences the final product properties of glass, fiberglass, and metals.
 
Energy: Optibor is helpful in many types of energy production. Because borates help control viscosity, Optibor is used in oil recovery and production. And, the boron-10 isotope is a highly effective absorber of thermal neutrons, making it essential to the safety and control systems of nuclear power stations. Optibor SQ and HP grades are made for the nuclear industry and can be isotopically enriched to increase the available proportion of boron-10.

Pharmaceuticals: Perhaps one of the most specialized uses of borates is in pharmaceutical applications. For example, boric acid used in eyedrops must undergo multiple levels of refinement to ensure the purity required to meet strict global compliance standards.
 

How to choose? Find the right Optibor for your application

With 11 different grades available, choosing the right form of Optibor might initially look like a process of elimination. U.S. Borax experts are available to help you narrow down the options to speed up your formulation process.
 
Our global technical support team is available to speak with you about your application and process to determine factors that will influence the behavior and effectiveness of the borates you use. They’ll take the time to understand:
  • The desired end result for your application
  • The performance expectations for your product
  • The chemical reactions that will happen in your process
  • How factors such as heat and humidity will be applied in your process
The team can then help you find the right Optibor product for your application and environment. They can even provide a product sample for you to test in your formulation. With this assistance, you’ll be on your way to faster production.
 
Whether you are updating an existing formulation or introducing a new product, U.S. Borax can help you get the greatest benefit from the borates you use. With your creativity and our expertise, you can get precision, performance, and consistent results.

Optibor

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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 northeast of Los Angeles.  Learn more about Rio Tinto.

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