Boric acid

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170.9 °C, 444 K, 340 °F

300 °C, 573 K, 572 °F

Boric acid, also called boracic acid or orthoboric acid or acidum boricum, is a weak acid often used as an antiseptic, insecticide, flame retardant, in nuclear power plants to control the fission rate of uranium, and as a precursor of other chemical compounds. It exists in the form of colorless crystals or a white powder and dissolves in water. It has the chemical formula H3BO3, sometimes written B(OH)3. When occurring as a mineral, it is called sassolite.

Contents

Occurrence

The free acid is found native in certain volcanic districts such as Tuscany, the Lipari Islands and Nevada, issuing mixed with steam from fissures in the ground; it is also found as a constituent of many minerals (borax, boracite, boronatrocaicite and colemanite). The presence of boric acid and its salts has been noted in seawater. It also exists in plants and especially in almost all fruits.[1]

Boric acid was first prepared by Wilhelm Homberg (1652–1715) from borax, by the action of mineral acids, and was given the name sal sedativum Hombergi ("sedative salt of Homberg"). However Borates, including boric acid, have been used since the time of the Greeks for cleaning, preserving food, and other activities.[citation needed]

Preparation

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