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Boron

an Element in the Periodic Table


At first the element Boron seemed unremarkable stuff, a dark powder in a jar, but then something odd happened which takes some explaining.

First a bit of background. I collect all kinds of stuff, in fact I am a hoarder of stuff. I keep things in boxes, and I keep track of where things are by a computer filing system. The boron was in a glass jar with a lid, in a box, and I was shocked when I opened the box to find that various metal items that were also in the box had RUSTED. How could some boron powder rust pieces of chrome, when the jar had a lid on?

Worse, though, because also in the box was a small jar of someone's kidney stones. All of the fluid that had been around the kidney stones had evaporated leaving the kidney stones dry in the jar.

Quite what influence the boron had is another matter, but I suspect it somehow altered the dessication/humidity of the air, and had such a powerful effect that after several months it had influenced things in the box through the microscopic gaps in the lid!

After that, here are a few helpful links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boron

http://periodic.lanl.gov/elements/5.html

www.webelements.com/boron

www.lenntech.com/periodic/elements/b.htm

www.chemicool.com/elements/boron.html

http://education.jlab.org/itselemental/ele005.html

www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/894.html

www.greenfacts.org/en/boron/boron-1.htm

Curiously, the stuff tends not to exist naturally as a pure element. Instead, it is mixed up with other things. For example, Borax, which is sodium borate Na2[B4O5(OH)4]8H2O

Boron is in the same group of metals as Aluminium. A time ago, aluminium was known in theory but not as a practical material, until a method was found to extract it. I wonder if some time Boron will become similarly useful. Imagine that, aeroplanes made of boron, and boron foil wrappers for chocolate?!