Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

    Borax veneta

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    Sodium biborate

    Etymology

    from the Arabic buraq, "white."

    Family

    Traditional name

    English: Borate of sodium, sodic pyroborate;
    French: Borate de soude;

    German: Natrium Pyroborat, Natriumtetraborat

    Used parts

    trit 1x

    Classification

    Na2B4O7
    Minerals; Inorganic; Alkalis - Column One

    Keywords

    natrum
    metal
    alum-like

    Original proving

    Provings. - 1. HAHNEMANN, Chronic Diseases, Part 2 of original, vol,.of translation. Contains 460 symptoms from self and Shorter.Allen's Encyclop. Mat. Med. Vol. II 195.

    Description of the substance

    A white or gray crystalline salt, with a slight alkaline taste, used as a flux, in soldering metals, making enamels, fixing colours on porcelain, and as a soap. It occurs native in certain mineral springs, and is made from the boric acid of hot springs in Tuscany. It was originally obtained from a lake in Thibet, and was sent to Europe under the name of tincal. Borax is a pyroborate or tetraborate of sodium, Na2B4O7.10H2O. Borax bead.

    Sodium tetraborate decahydrate, chemical compound, Na2B4O7·10H2O; sp. gr. 1.73; slightly soluble in cold water; very soluble in hot water; insoluble in acids. Borax is a colorless, monoclinic crystalline salt; it also occurs as a white powder. It readily effloresces, especially on heating. It loses all water of hydration when heated above 320°C and fuses when heated above 740°C; a "borax bead so formed is used in chemical analysis.

    Borax is necessary in small amounts for plant growth, one of the 16 essential nutrients. In larger amounts it is poisonous to plants, and the range can be small. For peaches, 1 ppm is required, but more than 5 ppm is toxic. If the signs of boron deficiency are noted in plants, a boron supplement can be applied. Borates can be used as non-toxic and non-specific herbicides. Borates are non-toxic to animals. The LD50 (dose at which there is 50% mortality) for humans is about 6 g per kg of body weight. Anything above 2 g is considered non-toxic, and borates are only 2 to 3 times as toxic as aspirin. Therefore, you are pretty safe unless you eat a pound and a half of borax for a snack. Borates are more toxic to insects than to mammals. The boranes and similar gaseous compounds are quite poisonous. As usual, it is not an element that is intrinsically poisonous, but toxicity depends on structure.

    Mineral
    Borax (Chemistry: Na2B4O7 -10H2O, Hydrated sodium borate. Class: Carbonates. Subclass: Borates. Uses: an ore of boron and as a source of borax) is a complex borate mineral that is found in playa lakes and other evaporite deposits. The basic structure of borax contains chains of interlocking BO2(OH) triangles and BO3(OH) tetrahedrons bonded to chains of sodium and water octahedrons. Most old mineral specimens of borax are chalky white due to a chemical reaction from dehydration. They have actually altered (at least on their surface) to the mineral tincalconite, Na2 B4O7-5H2O, with the loss of water. This kind of alteration from one mineral to another leaves the original shape of the crystal. Minerologists refer to this as a pseudomorph, or "fake shape", because the tincalconite has the crystal shape of the predecessing borax.
    Borax is directly deposited in arid regions from the evaporation of water in intermittent lakes called playas. The playas form only during rainy seasons due to runoff from adjacent mountains. The runoff is rich in the element boron and is highly concentrated by evaporation in the arid climate. Eventually the concentration is so great that crystals of borax and other boron minerals form.

    PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS (fi3, pag.2):
    Color is white to clear.
    Luster is vitreous.
    Transparency crystals are transparent to translucent.
    Crystal System is monoclinic; 2/m
    Crystal Habits include the blocky to prismatic crystals with a nearly square cross section. Also massive and as crusts.
    Cleavage is perfect in one direction.
    Fracture is conchoidal.
    Hardness is 2 - 2.5
    Specific Gravity is approximately 1.7 (very light)
    Streak is white.

    Kernite (fig.2, pag. 2) was first discovered in 1926 in the Kramer District of Kern Co., California, in an enormous, underground deposit. Almost immediately, its commercial importance was discovered and it became the most significant ore of the chemical borax, becoming an even greater ore than the mineral Borax itself (since it is a purer form of the chemical borax). Many more Kernite deposits probably exist deep below the surface of the earth in regions rich in borate minerals, and such deposits could provide great economic importance if discovered.

    Kernite does not keep well in collections, for it is efflorescent, meaning it loses the water in its crystal structure if not stored properly. Effects of efflorescence are the appearance of a white powder on its surface and formation of cloudy cracks, both which cause the specimen to become opaque and dull. In severe cases of efflorescence, Kernite specimens crumble into a white powder. Kernite specimens be stored in a damp area, where this effect will be minimal.
    After its discovery, Kernite became the principle source of borax and other boron compounds.

    Tincalconite (fig1, pag.3) is a mineral that is closely related to and often intimately associated with the mineral borax. Most old mineral specimens of borax are chalky white due to a chemical reaction from dehydration. They have actually altered (at least on their surface and ultimately throughout) to the mineral tincalconite with the loss of water molecules. This kind of alteration from one mineral to another, can leave the shape of the original crystal intact. Mineralogists refer to this as a pseudomorph, or "false shape", because the tincalconite has the crystal shape of the predeceasing borax. Most all specimens of borax in museums and collections should technically be labeled "Tincalconite" or even more accurately "Tincalconite after Borax".
    Minerals that are the result of human intervention are sometimes not considered true minerals by mineral purists. Tincalconite, however, is not exclusively an alteration product of borax dehydration after the borax has been excavated, as some texts may lead people to believe. The mineral has been found as a naturally occurring secondary mineral at Searles Lake, California, the mineral's type locality. These specimens of cryptocrystalline aggregates are the result of dehydration of borax crystals that had been exposed to the dry air conditions at the site. In addition though, primary tincalconite crystals have been discovered there in drill cores forming well shaped di-rhombohedral pseudo-octahedral crystals. Primary means that the crystals were not the result of the alteration of other minerals.

    Ulexite (fig1. pag.2), like other borates, is a structurally complex mineral. The basic structure of ulexite contains chains of sodium, water and hydroxide octahedrons linked in endless chains. The chains are linked together by calcium, water, hydroxide and oxygen polyhedra and massive boron units. The basic boron unit has a formula of B5O6(OH)6 and a charge of negative three (-3). It is composed of three borate tetrahedrons and two borate triangular groups.
    Ulexite is found with the mineral borax and is directly deposited in arid regions from the evaporation of water in intermittent lakes called playas. The playas form only during rainy seasons due to runoff from nearby mountains. The runoff is rich in the element boron and is highly concentrated by evaporation in the arid climate. Eventually the concentration is so great that crystals of ulexite, borax and other boron minerals form and accumulate to great thickness.
    Specimens of ulexite may form a "cotton ball" tuft of acicular crystals. These can be confused with the similar appearing tufts of the silicate mineral okenite, but are of a completely different origin with completely different mineral associations.
    Ulexite is also found in a vein-like bedding habit composed of closely-packed fibrous crystals. This variety is called "TV Rock" and is popular in many rock shops, especially with children. If the specimen is approximately an inch thick and is polished flat on both sides perpendicular to the fibers, then an unusual optical phenomenon can be seen. The fibers will behave like optical fibers and transmit an image from one side of the specimen to the other. In other words, a good specimen, resting on a newspaper will have the writing appear to be on top of the specimen without any distortion of the lettering. The newspaper can easily be read upon the surface of the ulexite! This is a phenomenal optical property that will stun anyone who has not seen it before. This effect is partially the result of the large spaces in the sodium octahedral chains mentioned above.

    PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
    Color is white or gray to colorless.
    Luster is silky.
    Transparency crystals are transparent to translucent.
    Crystal System is triclinic; bar 1
    Crystal Habits include tufts of acicular crystals called "cotton balls". Also as vein-like masses of parallel fibrous crystals.
    Cleavage is perfect in one direction.
    Fracture is fibrous.
    Hardness is 2 (softer than a fingernail)
    Specific Gravity is approximately 1.97 (very low density)
    Streak is white.