Video – Boron: The Overlooked Metalloid

Dec 22, 2022 | VIDEO, Chemistry, SCIENCE

Today, we are going to tackle the big question of whether boron is a metalloid or not, but first, let us understand what the term metalloid actually means. A Metalloid is a special group of elements with both metal and nonmetal properties.

They are found on the periodic table, forming a staircase pattern as they decrease in metallic character. The metalloid element family includes boron, silicon, germanium, arsenic, antimony, tellurium, and polonium. 

Each one has its own unique properties that make it useful for various applications. Metalloids are often used as semiconductors or insulators, making them important components in our everyday electronics. 

They can also be used to create alloys with other metals for use in construction and fabrication. Metalloids can even be used to add unique colorations to glass and ceramic pieces! 

What about the properties of Metalloids?

They have metals’ shiny, metallic luster but don’t conduct electricity or heat as well as metals do. Metalloid atoms also tend to form covalent bonds with other elements, giving them some non-metallic characteristics. This makes them great for all sorts of applications, from electronics to aerospace engineering. They have electronic band structures similar to semiconductors or semimetals.

These elements typically have intermediate ionisation energies and electronegativity valuesThese are amphoteric or weakly acidic oxides. In addition, metalloid elements are solid at room temperature and have relatively high melting points.  Many of metalloids’ other physical and chemical properties are intermediate.

What applications are metalloids used in?

Metalloids have many practical applications in everyday life, from electronics to construction materials. They are broadly used as alloys, biological agents, flame retardants, glasses, catalysts, and optical storage media. They are also used in semiconductors, pyrotechnics, optoelectronics, and electronics.

They are either toxic or have nutritional and medicinal properties. Boron, for example, is used in herbicides and insecticides


Now, let’s take a look at Boron and see whether it is a metal, non-metal or a metalloid?

Boron is considered a metalloid because it possesses common characteristics of both metals and nonmetals. It possesses properties of metals, such as high strength and metallic gloss, and non-metals, such as brittleness and low concreteness. Compared to sodium and calcium, boron’s hardness is much higher and is a relatively rare element in the Earth’s crust. 

It has many other unique properties – its outermost layer containing less than four electrons. Found in crystalline and amorphous forms – the former being brown-black-black powder with metallic luster while the latter is silver gray– it possesses near diamond hardness. 

Boron slowly oxidizes on air exposure at room temperature but can self-ignite when heated to 800 degrees Celcius or higher.

With boron’s ability to strengthen metal alloys and prevent corrosion, boron has many practical applications. In the form of boric acid, boron has antiviral, antiseptic, and antifungal properties.

In the form of borax, it is used as a disinfectant, deodorizer, laundry detergent, and weed killer. 

Boron is an essential element in everyday life, found not just in its elemental form but also as compounds like borosilicate glass and boron oxide. This multi-use element has endless applications, from the strong Boron Carbide to the versatile Boronic Nitride.

Final Note

Metalloids are a vital part of the periodic table as they represent a transition between metals and non-metals. However, they do not get the same attention as some other elements on the periodic table, but they are still an essential part of our scientific and technological world. With new uses being discovered constantly, it’s important to remember the importance of metalloids. 

Understanding their properties can help us develop better materials for use in our everyday lives.