Boric acid, or sassolite, is found mainly in its free state in some volcanic districts, for example, in the Italian region of Tuscany, the Lipari Islands and
the US state of Nevada. In these volcanic settings it issues, mixed with steam, from fissures in the ground. It is also found as a constituent of many
naturally occurring minerals – borax, boracite, ulexite (boronatrocalcite) and colemanite. Boric acid and its salts are found in seawater. It is also found in
plants, including almost all fruits.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
ancient Greeks for cleaning, preserving food, and other activities.
Borax has a wide variety of uses. It is a component of many detergents, cosmetics, and enamel glazes. It is also used to make buffer solutions in biochemistry, as a fire retardant, as an anti-fungal compound, in the manufacture of fiberglass, as a flux in metallurgy, neutron-capture shields for radioactive sources, a texturing agent in cooking, as a precursor for other boron compounds, and along with its inverse, boric acid, is also useful as an insecticide.
FIBERGLASS AND GLASS
AGRICULTURE AND FERTILIZER
WOOD PRESERVATIVES and PESTICIDES
PHARMACEUTICALS AND COSMETICS