Function by Application

The versatility of borates

If you don’t see your potential application listed below, please contact our technical support team. We are happy to help develop new uses for borates.

  • Adhesives: As part of the starch adhesive formulation for corrugating, and as a peptizing agent in the manufacture of casein-base and dextrin-base adhesives. In cements which take a polish. A flame retardant, smoke suppressant, and afterglow suppressant in epoxy adhesives
  • Agriculture: As a necessary trace element in soils lacking boron
  • Bonding: As a bonding coat on iron in preparation for glazing
  • Brick: As a fluxing and bonding agent for facing and glazing materials used on brick
  • Carpet: As a buffer and pH control when dyeing nylon carpeting
  • Caulks and Sealants: Crosslinking to help with tacking
  • Cellulose Insulation: Flame retardancy and corrosion performance
  • Ceramics: Used in melting, firing, and forming operations in the manufacture of ceramic and vitreous enamels, frits, and glazes for stoves, kitchenware, plumbing, and sanitary ware as well as sewer pipe
  • Chemistry: As intermediates in the manufacture of boron carbide, boron nitride, boron trichloride, boron esters, and other chemicals
  • Electronics: As an electrolyte in capacitors
  • Enameling: As a bonding coat on iron before glazing; in the making of vitreous enamel frits; as a neutralizer in the cleaning room of enamel plants
  • Eye drops: Added in small amounts to help control pH and retain moisture
  • Fiberglass (glass wool): Absorbs infrared radiation; acts as a flux, controls relationship between temperature, melt viscosity, and surface tension
  • Firebrick: As a fluxing and bonding agent with pyrophyllite to prepare a strong brick to withstand high temperature
  • Fire Protection: As a fire-retardant for textiles, lumber, insulating materials, and other combustibles
  • Fluxing: As a solvent for metallic oxides in welding fluxes; also as a fluxing agent in metal refining and the manufacture of glass
  • Glass: As a glass-forming and fluxing agent; also to reduce the coefficient of expansion in heat-resistant glass; to control the index of refraction in optical glass; to enhance the color, durability, scratch resistance and strength of glass container ware, novelty ware, structural and some plate glass
  • Gold: As a fluxing agent
  • Gypsum Board: Promotes formulation of large bulky crystals to impart rigid character
  • Insecticide (Canada): Used in insect (ie roaches, ants) powders. Used for mitigation of insects. To be used only in the manufacture of pesticides which are registered under the Pest Control Products Act {Use PRMA registered products. Formulators are responsible for their own registration.}
  • Insecticide (United States): Used in insect (ie roaches, ants) powders {Use only EPA registered products. Formulators are responsible for their own registration.}
  • Iron: As a bonding coat and rust preventative in the treatment of iron before glazing
  • Jewelry: In the manufacture of artificial precious stones and as a fluxing agent for soldering
  • Leather: Soaking hides and skins, stripping vegetable tans, and neutralizing chrome tans and limed pelts
  • Lubricants: Fairly widely in the manufacture of additives for lubricating oil. Borates’ tenacious film provides outstanding load-carrying capacity and wear protection. In addition to their corrosion inhibitive properties, boron-containing additives have detergent and anti-rust properties, lubrication, reduction of carbonaceous deposits, low sludge formation, and anti-knocking.
  • Metallurgy: See bonding, enameling, flux, gold, iron, non-ferrous metals, plating, and rust preventative
  • Metal Working Fluids: Metalworking fluids are primarily used in metal cutting and grinding applications to remove metal chips, reduce frictions, and cool the cutting zone. Metalworking fluids containing borates help rust inhibition, reduce friction and wear, and efficient cooling
  • Non-Ferrous Materials: As a cleansing agent in melting and refining
  • Nuclear: In neutron shielding and nuclear reactor cooling water circuits
  • Oil Field Chemicals: In down hole cements, fractionating fluids, alkalinity, pH buffering, fluid gelation, fluid breakers, and anti-corrosives
  • Paints and Pigments: In the preparation of certain greens and blues. Also as a fire-retardant
  • Paper: In the preparation of glazes, starch adhesives, and sizing. Also in pulp mills with Patented Partial Borate Autocausticizing (PBAC) technology
  • Plating: As an electrolyte in metal plating baths
  • Plastics: As a fire retardant and smoke suppressant
  • Polymers: As a fire retardant and smoke suppressant
  • Rust Preventative: In the treatment of iron before glazing and for the protection of ferrous metal surfaces
  • Soap and Detergents: As a mild alkaline buffer and scrubber, laundry detergent booster and builder, enzyme stabilizer
  • Textiles: In finishing, sizing and scouring compositions. As a flame-retardant
  • Textile Fiberglass: Fluxing and lowering temperatures
  • Water Treatment: Waste water treatment, as an anti-corrosion agent in heat-exchanging devices, swimming pool treatment
  • Waxes: As an emulsifying agent in the manufacture of waxes and wax base preparations
  • Wire Drawing: As a lubricant and rust inhibitor
  • Wood: Protection from pests (termites, ants, and wood boring beetles), wood decaying-fungi causing wood rot, and flames
As you can see, borates are amazingly versatile and useful across a vast range of applications. If you have questions:

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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