Boron Powder

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Elemental boron is a metalloid that is very hard, resisting heat and cold. It is not found naturally on Earth and must be produced industrially. It has two allotropes, amorphous and crystalline. The amorphous form is a brown powder and the crystalline form is silvery to black. It is a poor electrical conductor at room temperature.

Boron reacts with fluorine at normal temperatures to produce boron trioxide, a solid that is odorless and tasteless. It is insoluble in water, ethanol and ether. It is soluble in boiling nitric acid and sulfuric acid, but not in hydrochloric or chloride solutions aqueous. It is also soluble in concentrated alkali and cyanide solutions.

Pure amorphous boron reacts in a beautiful way with sulphur at temperatures of about 610 degC, producing brilliant incandescence and liberating sulphuretted hydrogen. It can also react directly with most metals to form metal boron compounds.

Micrographs of amorphous boron powder show that it has a layered structure with dense regions. This explains its good conductivity at elevated magnetic fields. However, the critical current density (Jc) is not as high as for crystalline boron. The reason for this is that large grains limit the number of connections between the boron particles.

Nanoamorphous boron is much more expensive than large-grain amorphous boron, but research has shown that it can increase Jc significantly. In addition, it can accelerate the formation of MgB2. A mixture of amorphous and crystalline boron with carbon-coated, nanometer-sized amorphous boron produces a material with even higher Jc.