Boron in ceramics, enamels, and glazes

Optimize product quality with high-purity borates for ceramics, enamels, and glazes

Improvements in manufacturing techniques, processes, and formulations have enabled significant advances in the production of traditional, commercial, and high-tech ceramics. Key to these improvements is rigorous control of both your formulation and firing process. You must be able to rely on the quality and consistency of input materials—particularly the borates that produce frits and act as the flux and network former in ceramics, enamels, and glazes. Lower quality borates contain impurities and deliver widely variable percentages of boric oxide (B2O3), increasing the chance of defects such as pinholes, blisters, cracking, and poor adhesion. When you struggle to meet customer and industry standards, you face costly scrap and rework—a poor tradeoff that impacts your productivity, profits, and reputation.

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High-quality refined borates help fine-tune frits and formulations 

Many types of borates are used to produce frits for ceramics, enamels, and glazes—and a variety of factors influence the selection of the right borate for your application.

Better borates enhance beauty and function 

In the manufacture of traditional ceramics, products such as U.S. Borax boric oxide and Neobor® sodium borate provide concentrated borates that increase strength and improve resistance to scratches and chemicals for ceramic wares such as: 
  • Floor and wall tile
  • Domestic tableware and cookware
  • Sanitary ware such as ceramic plumbing fixtures
  • Bricks and roof tiles
  • Refractories for lining boilers, furnaces, reactors, and kilns

High-purity borates for technically advanced ceramics

Borates such as Optibor® boric acid and boric oxide are integral to the formation of the molecular structure of advanced ceramics such as boron carbide, boron nitride, titanium diboride, and zirconium diboride. Borate purity is essential in these high-tech materials, which form:
  • Electronic ceramics such as those used in spark plugs, electronic capacitors and resistors, as well as rigid and flexible display panels
  • Structural ceramics, which provide exceptional strength and hardness for applications as diverse as hip and dental implants, heat exchangers, and engine combustion-chamber linings
  • Ceramic matrix composites that offer high performance in extreme conditions for applications such as gas turbines, thermal tiles for spacecraft, and fusion reactor walls
  • Ceramic coatings for protecting equipment from abrasion and corrosion in industries such as mining and slurry transport
Read about the vast range of ceramic applications that rely on borates.

Borates for durable enamels and glazes

Unprotected ceramics, metals, and composite materials are often susceptible to surface damage. Enamels and glazes make such materials easier to use in a variety of applications. Purpose-specific borates such as those in Neobor and Dehybor® improve adhesion and provide a strong thermal bond between the base and the protective surface—while helping reduce production costs.

  • Dehybor’s higher bulk density can reduce transportation and material handling costs while its anhydrous nature enables it to melt more rapidly than 5- and 10-mol borax—reducing the energy needed for production
  • Because Neobor is a concentrated sodium borate, it offers lower transportation, handling, and storage costs
Read more about borates in glazes and enamels. 

Why use U.S. Borax refined borates in your ceramics, enamels, and glazes?

U.S. Borax understands the complexity of the ceramics industry. Our technical experts can help you find the right balance of cost, efficacy, and compliance.

Quality matters: Pure, consistent borates improve your process

Quality in, quality out. To produce a consistently high-quality product, you need a borate that has:

  • High quality and purity
  • Consistent boric oxide (B2O3) content
  • Consistent particle size distribution (PSD)

Our ISO 9001:2015-certified Quality Lab ensures product purity through continuous testing and quality management best practices, from mine to final packaging. Titration testing helps prevent variation during processing. And once final checks are complete, lot codes ensure product traceability.

The result? Better outcomes, including:

  • Strong adhesion between enamel frit layer and substrate body
  • Reduced scaling, pitting, pinholes, blisters, and cracking
  • Less pre-process mitigation to remove impurities
Get the right borate for your process
U.S. Borax technical experts are available to help you select borate product samples and assist with lab testing and pilot trials. You’ll get the product you need and the support that matters to ensure optimal fusion temperature, adhesion strength, and processability for your application.

Cost-effective borates: Realize greater value in use

Industrial organizations that make and use ceramics, enamels, and glazes improve production efficiency through process and raw materials optimization.

Starting with a lower-quality mineral borate introduces greater costs into your process:

  • Inconsistent product quality, resulting in product scrap, waste, and recalls

  • Additional time and expense in expanded borate sample testing
  • Continual adjustments to batch formulation to adapt to variable B2O3 concentrations

​In contrast, highly pure, refined borates reduce:

  • Time consuming and repetitious acceptance sampling
  • Waste and scrap of defective product
  • Time, cost, and energy consumption compounded by rework
Propelling sustainability goals

High-quality refined borates in the manufacturing processes significantly lower the melting temperature required for production of ceramics, enamels, and glazes. A lower temperature in the furnace means less fuel is required to melt the materials, leading to improved energy efficiency—and reduced carbon emissions.

Technical expertise on your side

When you work with U.S. Borax technical experts, you get a partner who will recommend cost-saving solutions such as:

  • Adjustments to your product composition or raw materials mix to reduce overall costs

  • Specific borate selection to ensure optimal performance in your application and process

  • Use of concentrated borates (such as Neobor) when possible—so you can use less

20 Mule Team Borax Products

Recommended for frits in ceramics, enamels, and glazes

Borax decahydrate from U.S. Borax logo

This natural sodium borate provides an intermediate-temperature glassy bond before the establishment of the ceramic bond in glazes.

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Boric oxide from U.S. Borax logo

This pure, anhydrous product is ideal in the production of specialty ceramics and enamels that require boric acid without metals.

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Dehybor logo

Created by the dehydration and fusion of borax, this granular product increases yields and reduces energy consumption in ceramic and enamel frit production.

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Neobor logo

A concentrated sodium borate, Neobor controls the coefficient of expansion to facilitate the thermal fit between glaze and ceramic body.

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Optibor logo

Available in grades from granules to powder, Optibor facilitates thermal fit in ceramic glazes and develops a smooth, durable, scratch resistant surface.

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U.S. Borax powder products logo

When it comes to particulate materials, particle size affects end product quality and properties. U.S. Borax offers many of its products in powder grade.

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U.S. Borax is a member of:

The American Ceramic Society logo

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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 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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