Uses of Boron and Aluminium

Some Important Compounds of Boron

Boron is a natural compound produced on the merging of oxygen with other natural elements. It is naturally found in the sedimentary rocks, seas, shale, coal, and some kind of soils. Mainly some important compounds of boron enter the atmosphere from the weathering of rocks containing boron. On the other hand, it also comes in the form of boric acid vapour from seawater, volcanic and other geothermal activities. Boron is mostly extracted from the desert areas of Turkey, the USA, Argentina, Russia, Chile, Peru, and China.


Properties of Boron

Pure crystalline boron is lustrous, semiconductor, and black in colour. Also, this compound has an extremely high melting point. It is non-metal yet located in group 13 of the periodic table that is the same as aluminium. At low levels, boric acid and various borates are soluble in water and some biological fluids like blood and saliva. 


It is an allotropic element existing in metal or powder form. The borax, boric acid, sodium perborate, colemanite, ulexite, and borax pentahydrate are the most vital borate products and minerals available in the market. Borax, kernite, orthoboric acid, calcium borate, and boron hydrides are some important compounds of boron that are discovered as white crystalline stores. Let's know the uses of boron in our life.


Uses of Boron Compound

  • Boron uses are quite prevalent in the steel industry. Adding controlled amounts of elemental boron is effective in increasing the sturdiness of steel.

  • Metal borides have a high capacity of 10B isotope to ingest neutrons that helps to treat patients suffering from brain tumours using Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT).

  • Its typical application is as the nuclear reactors to create defensive shields. 

  • The compound is utilised as a semiconductor as well for creating electronic gizmos.

  • Further, the lightweight yet strong boron fibres are being used for the manufacturing of bulletproof vests and light composite materials for airships. 

  • Other boron uses are as a deoxidiser in the nonferrous-metals.

  • Since it has high energy/weight proportion boron compounds have significant usage as rocket fills.

  • Also, the addition of limited quantities of boron as a doping agent in silicon and germanium helps improve their electrical conductivity.

  • The most valuable compound of boron in powder form called boric acid is used in mild antiseptics, eye drops, tile glazes and washing powders.

  • Boron is a vital micronutrient for plants that allows them to digest properly. Also, boron powder uses are effective for the growth of the plants.

  • Boron powder has also long been seen in making soaps.

  • The production of heat-resistant borosilicate glass cookware is one more use of boron.

  • Additionally, boron powder uses are seen for tanning leather and electroplating nickel.


Aluminium

Aluminium (Al) is extracted from the Earth's crust. It is available in the highest quantity (8.1%) on the planet as compared to other metals. However, it is seldom discovered naturally in uncombined form. This metal typically dwells in minerals like cryolite and bauxite that are known as aluminium silicates. After processing these minerals, you get aluminium. The cost-efficient techniques to produce aluminium appeared in 1889.


You will find its usage in industrial as well as daily life objects. However, pure aluminium utilisation is scarce in the commercial market. Also, there is a decrease in the application of aluminium and its amalgams for everyday items because of their toxic property. 


Properties of Aluminium

Aluminium is a chemical element that is silvery-white and lightweight. It is not available in the metallic form in nature but discovered majorly in almost every rock, animal, and vegetation. Pure aluminium is pretty malleable and weak, whereas the commercial type of aluminium is hard and durable. This metal is highly corrosion-resistant as well as a good conductor of electricity and heat both. 


Thus, the metal can be used for making various objects depending on its distinct properties. It is utilised mainly as non-ferrous metal. Generally, industries use aluminium after combining it with other metals to generate an alloy as per the user requirement. The non-ferrous metal forms the alloys with manganese, magnesium silicon, and copper to improve their properties for particular uses. Let's know common uses associated with aluminium.


Uses of Aluminium 

  • Aluminium and its alloys are commonly used to shape poles, tubes, pipes, wires, plates or foils. 

  • It is also used in utensil making factories.

  • Manufacturing of planes and other automobiles are two uses of aluminium using aluminium alloys because they are lightweight and sturdy.

  • Aluminium is a good conductor of electricity that makes it usable in electrical transmission lines too.

  • The making of solar products and air-conditioners are also the customary two uses of aluminium.

  • Another best application of this metal is making foil paper. It is used to cook food as well as for wrapping the food to keep it fresh for long.

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(Foil sheet prepared from Aluminium because of its malleability.)

  • It is handy in the transferring of liquids and gases. 

  • One of the best applications of aluminium is its extensive use in the construction world, varying from bridges, ladders, rods, doors, and skylights to railings and wiring.

  • Heat sink to keep graphic cards and microprocessors in CPU cool is made using aluminium.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1.  Who was the Inventor of Aluminium Metal?

A. Danish chemist Hans-Christian was the first one who successfully extracted the pure form of aluminium from its ore in the year 1825. He began the process in 1824 by reacting potassium amalgam with anhydrous aluminium chloride that produced a piece of metal resembling the tin. This result he presented as a sample in 1825.


However, the famous German chemist Friedrich Wöhler is usually considered as the first to obtain a pure sample of the Aluminium in the year 1827 through the chemical reduction. Besides, English chemist Sir Humphry Davy named this shiny metal as Aluminium even though he failed to extract it.

Q2. What are the Similarities and Differences Between Boron and Aluminium?

A. Firstly, boron and aluminium are in the same group because they both have a similar number of valence electrons - 3 in the outermost shell. Further, boron and aluminium both belong to group 3 and produce trivalent oxides. Thus, it leads to some related physical and chemical properties as well. Both of these elements are very useful in the production of various daily use and industrial products.


In terms of difference, boron is a non-metal and aluminium is metal. Hence, boron is a bad conductor of electricity whereas aluminium is a good conductor of electricity. Also, aluminium is more reactive as compared to boron.