Providing input for various important branches of industry such as construction, automotive, home appliances, furniture, pharmaceuticals, electrical and electronics, the glass industry is the most important branch of industry for boron consumption. Boron constitutes a very important component in the production of borosilicate glass, glass wool and textile-type glass fiber. A very important part of boron product consumption concentrates on these three sectors. Glass fiber sector (of both insulation and textile type) constitutes the largest market for boron products and about 50% of the world boron consumption takes place in this sector.
The boron products used in the glass industry varies based on the type of the glass to be produced. Ulexite and borax pentahydrate are two basic boron products critical for high-quality insulating glass wool production. Colemanite and boric acid are, however, the main boron products for textile-type glass fiber production used in the production of durable plastic and composite materials consumed in construction, electronics, automotive, energy and sports equipment sectors.
Glass wool is used for heat and sound insulation in many areas. Construction sector constitutes the most important sector in glass wool consumption, and glass wool is used especially in insulation of commercial and industrial buildings and residences, in this sector. The boron oxide (B2O3) added at a rate of 4-5% to the composition in glass wool production reduces the melting temperature of glass, prevents re-crystallization and increases the durability of the produced fibers.
Textile-type glass fiber is a material which has a high tensile and impact strength, a high resistance against chemical reactions, is light-weighted
and can be produced at and low cost. Glass fiber is used in reinforced materials and composites with many new application thanks to these features. These highly-durable plastics and composites increasingly take the place of metals and alloys. Among the areas in which this material is used are Marine boots, skis, fuel tanks, vessels, railway wagons, roofing materials (such as golden grey mullet), electronic circuit boards, automobile bumpers, fenders, seats and front panels. Besides, it also constitutes a rapidly developing area for manufacture of wind vanes and glass fibers consumption in parallel with the increase in sensitivity to green energy.
Glass fiber content varies depending on the type of the fiber produced. "E-glass" with low alkalinity is the most common type of fiber consumed. E-glass constitutes about 90% of the glass fiber consumption worldwide thanks to its lower fragility in application processes. E-glass composition contains boron oxide (B2O3) up to 12% and is produced in varieties such as filament and yarn based on the final use purpose.
Borosilicate glass production is one of the most important consumption areas of boron products in the glass industry. The most important feature of borosilicate glasses is that they provide the material into which they are added with resistance against thermal shocks, impacts, chemical effects and scratching. Thanks to these characteristics, borosilicate glasses are used in laboratory equipment, pharmaceutical industry, kitchen appliances, solar energy systems and automotive lighting. Borosilicate glasses contain boron oxide (B2O3) at a rate between 5 and 30%.
One of the most important areas in boron consumption which shows an important progress in recent years is the production of flat panel display (including LCD) glasses. As a result of the shift in consumer preferences from tube televisions (CRT) to flat fine-panel televisions, the production of flat panel display glasses has drastically increased. The flat panel display glasses generally contain boron oxide (B2O3) at a rate between 11% and 13%. Since, in these glasses, the alkali metal ions are mixed with liquid crystal material and negatively affects the glasses' TFT characteristic, alkaline substances such as sodium are undesirable in the panel display glasses' production.
Boron is also used in fiber optics and thus, ensures an effective transfer of light photons in the communication system. Fiber optics consist of two distinct parts including inner core and outer section. The inner core and the outer section are respectively produced from glasses with a high and low index of refraction. The inner core is usually composed of silicate molten with borosilicate.
On the other hand, due to increasing costs of fossil energy and adoption of renewable energy policies, the borosilicate glass consumption increases at higher rates with the diffusion of the use of solar energy systems.
|Glass Type||B2O3 (%)|
|Borosilicate Glass||11 – 13|
|Lead Crystal Glass||0,02 – 0,03|
|Fiber Optic||21 - 23|
|C-Glass||4 - 6|
|D-Glass||22 - 23|
|E-Glass||7 - 8|