BARIUM- (from Barys-heavy or dense) Known since 1808, it is silver white malleable usually found as a carbonate or sulphate and in our chemical industry 1 million tons per year is used as a weighting agent for mud used in drilling oil wells.
Barium sulphate when taken internally outlines the stomach for x-rays and Barium nitrate gives our fireworks their green colour.
BISMUTH-(from the German Wissmuth= a white mass). A hard brittle metallic, grey white often tinged with red and regularly found in its native state. It crystallises in rhombs, in dendrite, thin laminae or investing ores of other metals, particularly cobait.
Discovered in 1450 it melts at 271*C but alloyed with other materials the melting point can be as low as 47*C and therefore becomes important for electric fuses, solders and automatic fire extinguishers.
Boron discovered in 1808 is a non-metallic, occurring in combination, as with sodium and oxygen and mostly found in inland or enclosed lake areas.
Its compounds have many uses, for example, water softeners, soaps, enamels, glass, pottery, fertilizers. weed killer, gasoline, (for improved performance in high compression motors) in high energy fuels for missile propulsion, steel hardening, drills, bits and other tools, detergents, medicines, cosmetics, toothpaste, disinfectants and lotions as well as flux
One of the best known uses are as sodium borate which is borax and boric acid, the only acid which is good for the eyes.
Approximately 1 Million Tons is used each year as a plant food and weed killer.
Bromine discovered in 1826, this is a reddish brown corrosive liquid volatizing to form a vapour with an unpleasant odour which is very irritating to the mucous membranes.
It’s Name actually comes from bromos= stench and is used for dyes, photo-graphy and in fuels as an anti knock agent, disinfectants and as a compound in nerve sedatives.
Information in this post came from The Australian Lapidary Magazine June 1976. Our Rare Earth By Romanic.
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