Boric acid is a chemical compound with the formula H3BO3. It is also known as orthoboric acid, boracic acid, and hydrogen borate. This compound has several applications as a flame retardant, neutron absorber, insecticide, and as an antiseptic. Boric acid is also used as a precursor in the synthesis of other chemical compounds. Some important properties and uses of boric acid are discussed in this article.
Properties of Boric Acid
The molar mass of boric acid is 61.83 grams per mole. Under standard conditions for temperature and pressure, this compound exists as a white, crystalline solid. The density of this compound at STP corresponds to 1.435 grams per cubic centimetre. The melting point of boric acid corresponds to 444 Kelvin and the boiling point of this compound is 573 Kelvin. It is not very soluble in water. At a temperature of 0oC, the solubility of this compound in water is 25.2 grams per litre. However, at a temperature of 100oC, the solubility of boric acid in water is 275.3 grams per litre. It can be noted that this compound is somewhat soluble in alcohols and pyridine. The molecular structure of boric acid is trigonal planar.
Uses of Boric Acid
Boric acid is widely used in the industrial manufacturing of textile fibreglass (also known as monofilament fibreglass). The production of the glass used in LCD systems often involves the use of boric acid. A mixture of boric acid and borax can be used as a flux material in certain welding activities.
Boric acid can also be used as an antiseptic while treating minor cuts and burns. It can be noted that this compound can also serve as an insecticide for the control of termites, cockroaches, and several other insects. Boric acid is often employed to remove dry and wet rot in timber.
Boric acid, in combination with its conjugate base (the borate ion), can be used as a pH buffer in swimming pools. It can also be used as a lubricant to reduce the friction on certain surfaces. It can be noted that boric acid is a Lewis acid.
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