The name for the element boron originated from the Arabic word for "borax," which is "buraq." It was discovered in 1808 by Louis-Josef Gay-Lussac, Louis-Jacques Thenard and Humphry Davy. It was first isolated when it was combined with boric acid and potassium.
Boron has an atomic number of 5 and atomic weight of 10.811. It is solid at room temperature and is considered a semi-metal. It also has the very high melting point of 3,767 degrees Fahrenheit. Boron is used in the manufacturing of certain bleach materials and fiberglass objects, such as fiberglass insulation and textile fiberglass. It is a natural flame retardant and can be used commercially for insulation. Boron can also be used as an ignition fuel source in rockets. Boron-10 can be used in nuclear reactor control rods due to the fact that it can absorb neutrons well. Boron filaments are strong and lightweight, making them ideal for use in aerospace technologies. One of the most common commercial applications of boron is its presence in borax, known chemically as sodium borate decahydrate. Borax is often used in laundry detergents, antiseptics and other soaps. Boron is a highly versatile element that can be used to create numerous compounds for a variety of uses, including glasses, enamels and even medicines to treat arthritis.