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Boric acid, also called hydrogen borate, boracic acid, orthoboric acid and
acidum boricum, is a weak, monobasic Lewis acid of boron, which is often
used as an antiseptic, insecticide, flame retardant, neutron absorber, or
precursor to other chemical compounds. It has the chemical formula H3BO3
(sometimes written B(OH)3), and exists in the form of colorless crystals or a
white powder that dissolves in water. When occurring as a mineral, it is called
► Molecular and crystal structure
The three oxygen atoms form a trigonal planar geometry around the boron. The B-
O bond length is 136 pm and the O-H is 97 pm. The molecular point group is C3h.
Crystalline boric acid consists of layers of B(OH)3 molecules held together by
hydrogen bonds of length 272 pm. The distance between two adjacent layers is
Based on mammalian median lethal dose (LD50) rating of 2,660 mg/kg body
mass, boric acid is only poisonous if taken internally or inhaled in large quantities.
The Fourteenth Edition of the Merck Index indicates that the LD50 of boric acid is
5.14 g/kg for oral dosages given to rats, and that 5 to 20 g/kg has produced death
in adult humans. For comparison's sake, the LD50 of salt is reported to be 3.75
g/kg in rats according to the Merck Index. According to the Agency for Toxic
Substances and Disease Registry, "The minimal lethal dose of ingested boron (as
boric acid) was reported to be 2–3 g in infants, 5–6 g in children, and 15–20 g in
adults. However, a review of 784 human poisonings with boric acid (10–88 g)
reported no fatalities, with 88% of cases being asymptomatic."Toxicology
Long-term exposure to boric acid may be of more concern, causing kidney damage
and eventually kidney failure (see links below). Although it does not appear to be
carcinogenic, studies in dogs have reported testicular atrophy after exposure to 32
mg/kg bw/day for 90 days. This level is far lower than the LD50.
According to the boric acid IUCLID Dataset published by the European
Commission, boric acid in high doses shows significant developmental toxicity and
teratogenicity in rabbit, rat, and mouse fetuses as well as cardiovascular defects,
skeletal variations, and mild kidney lesions. As a consequence in the 30th ATP to
EU directive 67/548/EEC of August 2008, the European Commission decided to
amend its classification as reprotoxic category 2, and to apply the risk phrases R60
(may impair fertility) and R61 (may cause harm to the unborn child).
At a 2010 European Diagnostics Manufacturing Association (EDMA) Meeting,
several new additions to the Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) candidate
list in relation to the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of
Chemicals Regulations 2007 (REACH) were discussed. Following the registration
and review completed as part of REACH, the classification of Boric Acid CAS
10043-35-3 / 11113-50-1 is listed from 1 December 2010 is H360FD (May damage
fertility. May damage the unborn child.)
|Properties||Colorless crystal or white powder|
Boric acid may be prepared by reacting borax (sodium tetraborate
decahydrate) with a mineral acid, such as hydrochloric acid:
Na2B4O7·10H2O + 2 HCl → 4 B(OH)3 [or H3BO3] + 2 NaCl + 5 H2O
It is also formed as a by product of hydrolysis of boron trihalides and
B2H6 + 6 H2O → 2 B(OH)3 + 6 H2
BX3 + 3 H2O → B(OH)3 + 3 HX (X = Cl, Br, I)
1. LCD flat panel displays
Boric acid is used in the production of the glass in LCD flat panel displays.
Boric acid is also mainly used in the production of ceramics .
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