Boron nitride, what is it and why is it in the news? I thought I knew what it was, but I was wrong. Boron nitride is not the preservative found in bacon to keep the strips looking fresh. And it’s not the stuff we used to wash our hands in elementary school – that was Borax, if you are old enough, you know what I’m talking about. That stuff was rough…it’s a wonder our hands survived that sand paper powdery grit with the slight medicinal smell. Boron nitride is neither of those things. But like Borax and meat preserving nitrates, it does preserve and clean up. Also known as white graphene, (which my spellchecker has never heard of), boron nitride can be used to create strands or sheets of atoms to spread out on a chemical spill to clean it up. When these porous sheets bond together, they create a white powder, not unlike Borax and like Bounty, can pick up the nastiest of spills from oil to other industrial chemicals that pollute our lakes and possibly create mutant species of fish like the fishzilla found in Central Park and all those river monsters Jeremy Wade keeps catching and releasing. This stuff can absorb something like 30 times its weight and get this, it can be reused! There is the little detail of setting it on fire to make it reusable, and I’m not so sure how safe that is if it means burning noxious chemicals, but I’m no scientist so I trust they know what they are doing when they ignite the thing. I mean recycling is good, right?
- ‘White graphene’ to clean up spills (bbc.co.uk)