Boron Element Number 5 B

This unusal disc is a pure Boron hot pressed sputter target. This sample is very light and fragile. This target is used in chemical and physical deposistion application in various industries.

 A pile of pure Amorphous Boron, this is an ingredient in fireworks and rocket fuel.

B 5  metalloid,  MP: 3769F,  BP: 7101f,  Mohs:  9.5,   D 2.08gm,  AW:10.811

 Boron is a very hard, non metallic element. Boron in pure form generally has a crystalline structure, though my sample is amorphous. This element is nearly as hard as a diamond, and can scratch glass. Boron is found in many minerals one of my favorites is Ulexite, which has fiber optic qualities.

Boron and its compounds are used in a wide variety of industry, Boric acid is used to control ants and also used in some medical applications such as eye wash. Borax make great detergents and soaps.

Boron is used as a glass additive, and one of my favorite marble makers uses Borosilicate glass to make his marbles and also Pyrex glass. The most powerful permanent magnets are the NIB (Neodymium/Iron/Boron) magnets. Boron has vast uses, nuclear, medical, electronics pyrotechnics, armor, abrasives and cutting,  insecticides and many more.

 Boron is  used in nuclear reactors as a neutron control, when you hear about control rods many times these would be boron rods, these are inserted into a reactor core to help slow the fission process of Uranium in a reactor, because Boron can absorb neutrons very efficiently it is helpful to slow down uranium fission. Neutrons cause Uranium to split, releasing energy, and more neutrons!! when controlled this process can produce heat and steam, to turn turbines and create electricity.

 If Uranium is allowed to split with no control, the neutrons from the fission will increase so rapidly that it will cause a chain reaction, If a chain reaction can not be stopped and moderated, it will become a super hot highly radioactive meltdown. Borated  seawater was dumped on the Fukushima melt down to attempt to cool fuel down.  Borated paraffin is used in labs to slow down fast neutrons for  neutron capture and detection experiments.

Boron is not found on earth in pure form, and  this element is not produced by stellar nucleosynthesis but rather a process known as comic ray spallation, or cosmogenic nucleosynthesis. This process takes place when a cosmic ray, or proton strikes matter, expelling neutrons and protons. this can occur in deep space, the atmosphere and also on the earths surface.


Borax from Boron California 

Carbon Element Number 6 C 

small diamonds with various color grades and shapes, diamonds are hard to photograph with my cheapo camera.

 C 6 non metal  D: 1.8- 3.5   AW: 12.01  Mohs: 1-2 (graphite) 10 (diamond)

Carbon is a very important element, all life is Carbon based and so much of our world today depends on Carbon compounds to provide us with energy and daily goods.  Carbon has several  allotropes, (varieties) diamonds, graphite, and C60 which is also known as fullerene. A girls best friend may be diamonds but my favorite Carbon allotrope is pyrolytic graphite, which can levitate over certain magnetic fields!

Because Carbon can form large complex molecular chains, The Carbon atom  is the basis of Organic chemistry, DNA is a Carbon chain. All oil and coal based materials from tires, plastics, colorants, food ingredients, paints,  fibers, solvents, even pavement are organic or Carbon containing compounds,  the list of Carbon compounds is in the millions! I can look around and see items with Carbon everywhere.

One common Carbon compound is carbon dioxide. Greenhouse gasses formed from the emissions of burning carbon based fuels, decay of biomass, biological emissions from animal life and loss of forests have adverse affects on our planet.

Carbon has interesting qualities, Diamonds are very hard, a 10 on the Mohs scale while graphite scores a soft 1-2 on the same scale, diamonds are poor conductors of electricity, yet have the best thermal conductivity of any material. Diamonds are formed when coal is under pressure and heat over millions of years. They were once the hardest material known.

Aggregated diamond nanorods are made in labs,with C60 tubes under massive weight and heat!  this material is harder than a natural diamond. The discovery of diamond nanorods upset the age old idea diamonds were the hardest material known.

The Carbon cycle is very important to the balances of life, the amount of Carbon on the planet is relatively constant, but Carbon moves around in a complex cycle involving plants, animals, the ocean and air, and also human activity. Humans may be disrupting the cycle by burning fossil fuels trapped long ago, and removing trees that help keep the Carbon balance.

So much could be said about the 6th element I could write for years, but I would rather move on to Nitrogen from here!

 Peacock coal, a very cool carbon form.

 NIB magnets with a wafer of pyrolytic graphite, the graphite has a 45 degree orientation