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- Molecular formula: H20B4Na2O17
- Molar mass: 381.372
- CAS Registry Number: 1303-96-4
- Appearance: Not available
- Melting point: Not available
- Boiling point: Not available
- Solubility: Not available
- Safety sheet: Not available
- Spectra: Check on SDBS. Add Spectra (Help).
Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is an important boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid. Powdered borax is white, consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water.
Borax has a wide variety of uses. It is a component of many detergents, cosmetics, and enamel glazes. It is also used to make buffer solutions in biochemistry, as a fire retardant, as an anti-fungal compound, in the manufacture of fiberglass, as a flux in metallurgy, neutron-capture shields for radioactive sources, a texturing agent in cooking, as a precursor for other boron compounds, and along with its inverse, boric acid, is useful as an insecticide.
In artisanal gold mining, the borax method is sometimes used as a substitute for toxic mercury in the gold extraction process. Borax was reportedly used by gold miners in parts of the Philippines in the 1900s.
The term borax is used for a number of closely related minerals or chemical compounds that differ in their crystal water content, but usually refers to the decahydrate. Commercially sold borax is partially dehydrated.
Borax was first discovered in dry lake beds in Tibet and was imported via the Silk Road to the Arabian Peninsula in the 8th Century AD.
disodium bicyclo[3.3.1]tetraboroxane-3,7-diolate decahydrate (IUPAC Name); Borax decahydrate; Sodium borate decahydrate; Sodium tetraborate decahydrate