B; at. no. 5; at. wt 10.81; valence 3; Two naturally occuring isotopes: 10; 11; three short lived, artificial
isotopes: 8, 12, 13. Occurrence in the earth's crust about 0.001% in the form of its compounds, never as the
element. First obtained by Moissan in 1895 by reduction of the anhydride (B2O3)
with magnesium in a thermite-type reaction: Moissan, Ann. Chim. Phys.  6, 296 (1895), still
a good method for large quantities of relatively impure boron. Prepn of high purity crystalline boron by vapor
phase reduction of boron trichloride with hydrogen on electrically heated filaments in a flow system:
Stern, Lynds, J. Electrochem. Soc. 105, 676 (1958). Reviews of prepn and properties of
boron and its compds: Boron, Metallo-Boron Compounds and Boranes, R. M. Adam, Ed. (Interscience, New-York, 1964)
765 pp; The Chemistry of Boron and Its Compounds, E. L. Muetterties, Ed. (John Wiley, New York, 1967) 699 pp;
Greenwood, "Boron" in Comprehensive Inorganic Chemistry vol. 1, J. C. Bailar, Jr. et al.,
Eds. (Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1973) pp 655-991; J. G. Bower in Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology
vol. 4 (Wiley-Interscience, New York, 3rd. ed., 1978) pp 62-66. Review of synthesis and applications of vinylic
organoboranes: H. C. Brown, J. B. Campbell, Aldrichim. Acta 14, 3-11 (1981).
Polymorphic; a-rhombohedral form, clear red crystals, 12 atoms/unit cell, d 2.46;
b-rhombohedral form, black, 105 atoms/unit cell, d 2.35; a-tetragonal
form, black, opaque crystals with metallic luster, 50 atoms/unit cell, d 2.31; other crystal form known but
not entirely characterized. Amorphous form, black or dark brown powder, d 2.350. Crystals are almost as hard as diamond.
mp ~2200°. Vapor pressure at 2413°K (2140°): 1.56 x 10-5 atm. Searcy, Myers, J. Phys. Chem.
61, 957 (1957). Heat capacity at 25° of amorphous form: 2.858 cal/g-atom/°C; of b-rhombohedral
form: 2.650 cal/g-atom/°C. Feeble conductor of electricity at room temp, good conductor at high temps. Ad-mixture of traces of
carbon improves conductivity. Self-limiting reaction with oxygen due to formation of
B2O3 film; oxide coating evaporates above 1000°. Reacts with
fluorine at room temp. Insol. in water. Unaffected by aq hydrochloric acid and hydrofluoric acids. When finely divide, it is
sol in boiling nitric and sulfuric acids and in most molten metals, such as copper, iron, magnesium, aluminum, calcium.
Reacts vigorously with fused sodium carbonate and potassium nitrate.
USE: In nuclear chemistry as neutron absorber, in Ignitron rectifiers, in alloys, usually to harden other metals.
Ref.: 1345, 205 pp.
The Merck Index - Eleventh Edition.
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