Sodium Borate

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Available Options

Uses

 
Borax-based laundry detergent

Household products

pH buffer

  • Borate ions (commonly supplied as boric acid) are used in biochemical and chemical laboratories to make buffers, e.g. for polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of DNA and RNA, such as TBE buffer (borate buffered tris-hydroxymethylaminomethonium)[17][18][19] or the newer SB buffer or BBS buffer (borate buffered saline) in coating procedures. Borate buffers (usually at pH 8) are also used as preferential equilibration solution in dimethyl pimelimidate (DMP) based crosslinking reactions.

Co-complexing agent

Water-softening agent

  • Borax alone does not have a high affinity for the hardness cations, although it has been used for water-softening. Its chemical equation for water-softening is given below:
Ca2+ (aq) + Na2B4O7 (aq) → CaB4O7 (s)↓ + 2 Na+ (aq)
Mg2+ (aq) + Na2B4O7 (aq) → MgB4O7 (s)↓ + 2 Na+ (aq)
  • The sodium ions introduced do not make water ‘hard’. This method is suitable for removing both temporary and permanent types of hardness.

Flux

Small-scale gold mining

 
Old steam tractor and borax wagons, Death Valley National Park
  • Borax is replacing mercury as the preferred method for extracting gold in small-scale mining facilities. The method is called the borax methodand is used in the Philippines.

Flubber

Food additive

  • Borax, given the E number E285, is used as a food additive in some countries, but is banned in some countries, like the U.S., and Thailand. As a consequence, certain foods, such as caviar, produced for sale in the US contain higher levels of salt to assist preservation.[24] Its use as a cooking ingredient is to add a firm rubbery texture to the food, or as a preservative. In oriental cooking it is mostly used for its texturing properties. In Asia, borax (Chinese硼砂pinyinpéng shā or Chinese月石pinyinyuè shí) was found to have been added to some Chinese foods like hand-pulled noodles lamian and some rice noodles like shahe fenkway teow, and chee cheong fun recipes. In Indonesia it is a common, but forbidden, additive to such foods as noodles, bakso (meatballs), and steamed rice. The country's Directorate of Consumer Protection warns of the risk of liver cancer with high consumption over a period of 5–10 years.

Other uses

 
Rio Tinto Borax Mine Pit, Boron, California