Borax decahydrate or disodium tetraborate decahydrate is one of the most common sodium borate ores with chemical formula Na2B4O7.10H2O. The physical properties of borax decahydrate is a white monoclinic crystal that is soluble in water. In nature, it occurs as borax mineral from evaporation of deposits produced by the repeated evaporation of seasonal lakes.
Reactions with acids and bases will produce borates and dehydration will produce pentahydrate Na2B4O7.5H2O and other lower hydrates. Borax decahydrate will decompos at 75 degree celcius.
Borax is obtained from lake brines, tincal, and colemanite. There are also primary salt constituent of brine such as sodium chloride, sodium sulfte, sodium carbonate, and potassium chloride. The percentage of borax as Na2B4O7 in brine is approximately 1.5 to 1.6 %. To separate borax from these salts, the brine solution is subject to evaporation and crystallization to remove NaCl, Na2CO3, and Na2SO4. The hot liquor consists of concentrated solution of potassium salts and borate. The insoluble solid particles are filtered and the hot liquor is cooled in continuous vacuum crystallizers under controlled conditions of temperatures and concentration to crystallize KCl. KCl is separated from the liquor by filtration and bicarbonate is added to the liquor to prevent the formation of sodium metaborate. Lastly, the liquor is evaporated and refrigerated to crytallize borax decahydrate.
Boron is an essential micronutrient for growth and development of healthy plants and in agriculture. The three main application methods include broadcast, banding and foliar applications. Borax Decahydrate are given to the soil directly in the solid form and dissolved in humid conditions as it is taken up by the plants’ roots. Another application technique is borates are sprayed over the leaves since some plants intake better through their leaves. In some cases spraying is a better way of fertilizing particularly if the season for dry bulk blend broadcast has expired. The amount of boron used in the soil as fertilizer varies according to application, rain, soiling liming, organic matter and more importantly plant type.
Borax is most known for its use in detergent industry as borax helps with the removal of oily soils from fabrics, imparts alkalinity, pH buffering, and softening of the wash water.
Borax decahydrate is used as a cross linking agent to emulsify waxes and other paraffin as the base of lotions, creams, and ointments
Borax is the source of borate that is a suitable polymer bed used in medicine to diagnose hyperglycemia in diabete mellitus.
As stated earlier, broax is also commonly used for cleaning agent. In industrial institutional borax is used for cleaning compund and it can also clean hard surfaces such as metals, glass, ceramics.
Borax decahydrate is also used for starch adhesive formulation for corrugated paper and paperboard.
Borax decahydrate is also used for polishing and waxes, and it can also be used as a car antifreeze formulations as it is highly soluble in ethylene glycol.