Boric Acid: Important Uses & Applications

Boric acid, also called boracic acid, hydrogen borate, acidum boricum and orthoboric boric acid, is monobasic, weak Lewis acid of boron. It exists as a water soluble white powder or in the form of colourless crystals. Boric acid is made up of Boron, Oxygen and Hydrogen and is a naturally occurring chemical compound. It is also found in combination with other minerals such as boracite and borax. When occurred in a mineral form, it is called sassolite. Here are some important uses and applications of boric acid:

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1. Medical Uses

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For minor cuts and burns, it can be used as an antiseptic. A very dilute solution of Boric acid can be applied as an eye wash. A dilute solution of Boric acid can also be used as a vaginal douche for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis. Boric acid also acts as an antibacterial compound for acne treatment. Boric acid powder is inserted in stockings or socks to prevent athlete’s foot.

2. Used as insecticidal 

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Boric acid can be used as an insecticidal to control ants, cockroaches, fleas, termites and many other insects.

3. For preserving woods

Boric acid is helpful in the preservation of timbers against fungal and insect attack.

4. Used as pH buffer

Boric acid is widely used as a pH buffer system (mostly in swimming pools) in equilibrium with its conjugate base- borate ion.

5. For lubrication

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Boric acid can be used as a lubricant on ceramic or metal surfaces. It can also be used to lubricate carrom boards for faster and smooth play.

6. In Nuclear Power

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Boric acid acid is used as neutron poison in nuclear power plants. The boron in boric acid absorbs some thermal neutrons and reduces the probability of thermal fission.

7. Industrial uses

The most common use of boric acid in industries is in the manufacture of fiberglass. In the jewelry industry, it is used during soldering and annealing operations. It is also used for producing glass in LCD displays.

8. Agricultural uses

Boric acid is widely used to treat boron deficiencies in plants.

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