The Benefits of Boron
Boron is the fifth element on the periodic table. Boron does not exist by itself in nature. Instead, boron combines with oxygen and other elements to form boric acid or inorganic salts known as borates. People need borates as an important part of a healthy diet and as an essential ingredient in many products we all use every day such as lipstick and eyewash.
Boron is an essential micro-nutrient in plants that is vital for their health, growth and development. In fact, without sufficient boron, plants are unable to seed or fruit and plant fertilisation will not occur. Crop yields and food quality are diminished where there are deficiencies of boron in the soil. The use of borate fertilisers can increase crop yields by as much as thirty to forty percent in areas of high boron deficiency. Boron also has a unique range of effects that include metabolising, bleaching, buffering, dispersing, vitrifying, inhibiting, flame proofing and neutron absorbing. This makes boron indispensible in many key household products and industrial processes that incorporate these effects.
Boric acid is a relatively benign substance that is used as an eyewash treatment, an acne treatment, and also to treat fungal and yeast infections including athlete’s foot. Boron is also used internally to treat ear and vaginal infections.
Boron is a key component in controlling bacteria, fungi and insects by inhibiting metabolic processes. This has made Borax the longest continually registered and safest pesticide in the world. It is deadly to termites, ants and cockroaches – yet safe for people, pets and the environment.
Boron is found in laundry detergents and cleaning products as important agents in bleaching and stain removal. The biostatic action of borates control bacterial and fungal agents whilst performing a range of functions including bleaching, stabilising enzymes, softening water and boosting the surfactant properties in cleaners and detergents.
Boron serves to provide a stable pH as a buffering agent for acidity and alkalinity in many applications. It is noted that detergents, film processing and fireworks all require borate applications for a stable pH.
Boron is able to bond with other particles to keep differing ingredients dispersed evenly. Boron onwardly controls the viscosity of products such as adhesives, paints and ladies cosmetics.
Boron vitrifies the structure of glass to make it resistant to heat or chemical attack. This facilitates the production of ultra-thin LCD screens, functional fibreglass, ceramic tiles and glazes. Boron and borosilicate glass are the basis for all heat-resistant glass applications. This has a range of applications from Pyrex cookware through to cathode ray tubes. Boron increases the strength of glass and its resistance to factors such as water, chemicals and thermal shock.
Boron ceramic components are used in armour protection, heat resistant tiles in spacecraft, electrical regulating circuits, insulating spark plugs and also in catalytic converters on automobile exhaust systems where it removes elements that are harmful to the environment.
Boron inhibits corrosion by interacting with surfaces containing iron to form a protective coating. Boron is used to stop surface oxidation and fire-scale from forming on metals during either the soldering, or the annealing process.
Boron is used to retard flames and suppress smoke in polymers. Borates are combined with zinc to create synergist flame and fire retardants used in a vast range of componentry and materials including automobile parts, insulation products, electrical components, wall coverings, curtains, carpets, etc.
Boron has neutron absorbing effects in cancer treatments and also in nuclear containment shields. Boric acid slows nuclear fission and borates are used to assist contain fission in spent nuclear fuel rods.
The major use of boron world-wide is in both insulation fibreglass and textile fibreglass where borates act as a powerful flux and lower glass batch melting temperatures. Borates control the inter-relationship between temperature, viscosity and surface tension so as to create optimal glass fiberisation.
All of this is interesting but how does this affect you apart from some of the day to day uses described above?The answer lies in a unique timber treatment whereby boron is impregnated into timber. Boron timber applications impart several properties conducive to timber as a preservative agent.
These properties are as follows: Insecticidal, Fungicidal, Fire Retardancy and Corrosion Inhibition for metal fixings and fastenings. These functions collectively represent a major step forward in the replacement of the more traditional timber treatments.
The Insecticidal Properties of boron timber treatments include protection against termites (both drywood and subterranean varieties), all forms of lyctus borer, carpenter ants and all known insect pests of timber. This is a major benefit for all parties involved in the construction and end use of residential housing and buildings.
The Fungicidal Properties of boron timber treatments include protection against all forms of timber decay and rot. Fungal spores that land on timber surfaces send mycelium branches through the cellulose structure where breakdown and decay occur to facilitate timber rot. Boron kills fungal spores and attacks mycelium threads in timber to eliminate their growth cycle.
The Fire Retardancy of boron timber treatments functions provide greater protection to homeowners in providing a resistance to the effects of flames engulfing building structures over a short period of time. This provides an inbuilt safety feature for structural timbers.
Boron provides an environmentally acceptable timber preservation treatment that is safe for humans and has multiple benefits for homeowners without any downside risks. It provides the safest and surest means of long-term timber protection for all timber structures.