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What is Borax used for?

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Borax is a chemical compound that consists of the element boron and is united to soda and oxygen molecules. Borax is also referred to as sodium borate, disodium tetraborate, or tetraborate formula. It is a very soft and extremely colourless chemical compound and can easily dissolve when mixed with water. The major forms of borax are decahydrate salt or anhydrous salt and also pentahydrate salt in some instances. This chemical compound is made up of Boron, Oxygen, and Sodium and the mixture of these three create Sodium Tetraborate. 

 The Borax formula is : Na2H4B4O9•nH2O

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Chemical Structure of Borax

Physical and Chemical Properties of Borax

Properties of borax rise from the same composition as the boron compound. Borax is considered as salt or mineral of boric acid and is found as a crystalline mineral in the natural form. Boron is made up of a metalloid element with the properties that is “intermediate” between aluminium and carbon. It is a rare chemical and is found in Kenite and borax. 

General Properties

The chemical formula of sodium borate is Na2[B4O5(OH)4]-8H2O. Borax is an odourless solid with 201.22g/mole molecular weight and it melts when it reaches 741℃. It is non-corrosive and stable when present in the glass. This chemical compound is incompatible with mercuric chloride, alkaloid salts, zinc sulphate, and various other salts that are metallic in nature. It is also not compatible with moisture and is often regarded as disodium tetraborate, disodium salt, boric acid, sodium tetraborate decahydrate as well as sodium borate. 

Borax can be bluish, green, grey as well as white in colour and has a solubility power of 6g to 100g of water. It has a density of 1.73 and a boiling point of 320oC. As per its pH, borax is considered to be alkaline in nature. In nature, borax is found as a white solid under standard pressure and temperature conditions. 

Sodium Borate Uses 

  • Borax is regarded as the precursor that serves several commercial important compounds of boron and the most important one is boric acid that is used majorly in the form of an insecticide.

  • Borax is a compound that is also found in various metallurgical processes.

  • It is a strong compound and serves as an agent that helps in cross-linking while preparing slime.

  • Biochemistry is a vast field and the use of borax in this field is considered very important and helps in the manufacture of various buffer solutions.

  • It is also applied in many cooking processes and serves as a compound that helps in texturing the agent. 

  • This chemical compound is also found while capturing any kind of shield for transportation, safe storage as well as using radioactive chemical substances.

  • It is also used as an antifungal agent that can help to kill fungi and stop their harmful growth. 

  • Borax also has the capability of serving as a flame retardant. 

  • Borax is also found in a variety of cosmetics, glazes, detergents, and enamel products. 

Borax uses for Health

The benefits of including borax in a health supplement are not known to many. But it has very unique properties that benefit the one having it. They are:

  • Bone Health: 

Borax is regarded as an important chemical for the growth of bones and it also helps to maintain and keep the bones healthy. It acts as a booster for the starters and later helps in building the body parts. Magnesium and calcium are considered to be very essential for the bones and if a body has very little borate then the excretion increases and that is not good for the health. 

  • Osteoarthritis: 

Sodium borate supplements act as a shield and protect the body from osteoarthritis by relieving the pain and strengthening the body. 

Uses of borax in Chemistry

Borax is regarded as an important boron component and is used for many chemical purposes. It is white in colour but a microscopic view reveals that it is composed of minute colourless particles. 

Did You Know?

  • Borate acid is present on your television screens.

  • Boric acid is one of the major ingredients in Silly Putty 

  • Boric acid acts as a resistance for glass products.

Borax finds use in a multitude of fields- from Medicines to Skincare. But the health effects of borax are still an issue of controversy and hence, are subject to further research. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is Boric Acid and Why or Where is it used? 

Boric acid is also known as sodium borate and has various important uses that span across a large variety of industries. The most important example is cosmetics and detergents. It is also used as an enamel glaze. In the wide field of biochemistry boric acid is also used for preparing buffer solutions.

It is a chemical compound that is used in storing, transporting, and in radioactive space like a shield. It acts as a precursor molecule and is extensively used in the biochemical industry as an agent in various reactions. 

There are many other uses of borax such as:

  • It can kill ants and insects.

  • It helps an individual to get rid of fungus and stains that appear in the house.

  • It is also an important ingredient used in washing clothes and helps to get rid of dirt.

  • It can soften the harshness in water and neutralize the odour. 

2. What are the Toxic effects of Boric Acid on Metabolism?

Metabolism of borate is not possible in the human body as excessive energy is required to break down the boron bond in it. But, inorganic boric often breaks down to its lower concentrated form before being absorbed in both human and animal physiological processes of metabolism. To identify the systematic effects of inorganic and other relevant borates, tests and experiments have been done on animals like rats, dogs, mice etc. The compound showed toxic effects on testicular activities and affected the nervous system the most.

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