Is There an Element Named After a Cleaning Compound?

Is There an Element Named After a Cleaning Compound?

Is There an Element Named After a Cleaning Compound?

Strictly speaking, no element is named for a cleaning compound. Boron, however, is derived from the Arabic and Persian words for borax, the compound in which it's often found. Borax is a common component in many abrasives and other cleansers.

Most elemental boron is derived by heating borax (Na2B4O7?10H2O) with carbon. This process produces boron that is pure enough for most applications. Once extracted, boron can be used in rockets and other pyrotechnics as an ignition source. It's also a good absorber of neutrons, which makes it useful in the fabrication of radiation shields and the control rods used in nuclear reactors.