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Elements

A chemical element is a type of atom with a given number of protons in its nucleus. Chemical elements cannot be broken down into simpler substances by any chemical reaction. The number of protons in an element’s nucleus is its defining attribute and is referred to as its atomic number (represented by the symbol Z). Atoms with the same atomic number are all constituents of the same element.

Boron

The chemical element boron has the atomic number 5 and the letter B as its symbol. In its crystalline form, boron is a crumbly, dark, glossy metalloid; in its amorphous form, it is a brown powder.

Properties of Boron

  • Boron is non-metallic in nature.
  • It is extremely hard and black-coloured solid.
  • It exists in many allotropic forms.
  • Due to the very strong crystalline lattice, boron has an unusually high melting point.
  • Boron does not react with acids and alkalies, even at moderate temperatures.
  • Boron is an extremely hard refractory solid with a high melting point, low density and very low electrical conductivity.
  • The boron’s first three ionisation enthalpies add up to an extremely high value because of the element’s smallest size. This limits it from forming covalent compounds and inhibits it from generating +3 ions.

Uses of Boron

  • Bulletproof vests and lightweight composite materials for aviation are made with boron fibres.
  • Metal borides are utilised in the nuclear industry as control rods and protective shields because the boron-10 (10B) isotope has a high capacity to absorb neutrons.
  • The main industrial application of borax and boric acid (boron compounds) is in manufacturing heat-resistant glasses (e.g., Pyrex), glass wool and fibreglass.
  • Borax is also used as a flux for soldering metals, as a component of medicinal soaps, and to glaze earthenwares, so that they are heat, scratch, and stain resistant.

Gadolinium

The chemical element gadolinium has an atomic number of 64 and the letter Gd as its symbol. Gadolinium is a ductile rare-earth element that is just slightly malleable.

Properties of Gadolinium

  • The eighth element in the lanthanide series is gadolinium.
  • It can be found in the periodic table above the actinide curium and between the elements terbium to the right and europium to the left.
  • It is a ductile, silvery-white rare-earth element.
  • Its 64 electrons are grouped in the arrangement [Xe]4f75d16s2.
  • Gadolinium combines with most elements to form Gd(III) derivatives.
  • At high temperatures, it also forms binary compounds with carbon, nitrogen, sulphur, boron, phosphorus, selenium, silicon, and arsenic.
  • Gadolinium has a ferromagnetic Curie point of 20 °C and is paramagnetic at room temperature.

Uses of Gadolinium

  • Neutron treatment uses 157Gd to target tumours because of its high neutron cross-section.
  • Green phosphors are another product made from gadolinium compounds that are used in colour TV tubes.
  • Gadolinium is used to create the material known as gadolinium yttrium garnet (Gd: Y3Al5O12), which has microwave uses and is made into various optical components and used as a substrate for magneto-optical films.
  • In solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), gadolinium can act as an electrolyte.

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