Facebook Instagram Youtube Twitter

Boron and Carbon – Comparison – Properties

This article contains comparison of key thermal and atomic properties of boron and carbon, two comparable chemical elements from the periodic table. It also contains basic descriptions and applications of both elements. Boron vs Carbon.

boron and carbon - comparison

Compare boron with another element

Oxygen - Properties - Price - Applications - Production

Nitrogen - Properties - Price - Applications - Production

Chlorine - Properties - Price - Applications - Production

Carbon - Properties - Price - Applications - Production

Silicon - Properties - Price - Applications - Production

Compare carbon with another element

Hydrogen - Properties - Price - Applications - Production

Boron - Properties - Price - Applications - Production

Oxygen - Properties - Price - Applications - Production

Aluminium - Properties - Price - Applications - Production

Nitrogen - Properties - Price - Applications - Production

Iron - Properties - Price - Applications - Production

Chlorine - Properties - Price - Applications - Production

Bromine - Properties - Price - Applications - Production

Boron and Carbon – About Elements


Significant concentrations of boron occur on the Earth in compounds known as the borate minerals. There are over 100 different borate minerals, but the most common are: borax, kernite, ulexite etc. Natural boron consists primarily of two stable isotopes, 11B (80.1%) and 10B (19.9%). In nuclear industry boron is commonly used as a neutron absorber due to the high neutron cross-section of isotope 10B. Its (n,alpha) reaction cross-section for thermal neutrons is about 3840 barns (for 0.025 eV neutron). Isotope 11B has absorption cross-section for thermal neutrons about 0.005 barns (for 0.025 eV neutron). Most of (n,alpha) reactions of thermal neutrons are 10B(n,alpha)7Li reactions accompanied by 0.48 MeV gamma emission.


It is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds. Carbon is one of the few elements known since antiquity. Carbon is the 15th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, and the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen.

Boron in Periodic Table

Carbon in Periodic Table

Source: www.luciteria.com

Boron and Carbon – Applications


Nearly all boron ore extracted from the Earth is destined for refinement into boric acid and sodium tetraborate pentahydrate. In the United States, 70% of the boron is used for the production of glass and ceramics. The major global industrial-scale use of boron compounds (about 46% of end-use) is in production of glass fiber for boron-containing insulating and structural fiberglasses, especially in Asia. Boron is added to boron steels at the level of a few parts per million to increase hardenability. Higher percentages are added to steels used in the nuclear industry due to boron’s neutron absorption ability (e.g. pellets of Boron Carbide). Boron can also increase the surface hardness of steels and alloys through boriding. Boron carbide and cubic boron nitride powders are widely used as abrasives.


The major economic use of carbon other than food and wood is in the form of hydrocarbons, most notably the fossil fuel methane gas and crude oil (petroleum). Graphite and diamonds are two important allotropes of carbon that have wide applications. The uses of carbon and its compounds are extremely varied. It can form alloys with iron, of which the most common is carbon steel. Carbon is a non-metallic element, which is an important alloying element in all ferrous metal based materials. Carbon is always present in metallic alloys, i.e. in all grades of stainless steel and heat resistant alloys. Carbon is a very strong austenitizer and increases the strength of steel. In fact, it is the principal hardening element and is essential to the formation of cementite, Fe3C, pearlite, spheroidite, and iron-carbon martensite. Adding a small amount of non-metallic carbon to iron trades its great ductility for the greater strength. Graphite is combined with clays to form the ‘lead’ used in pencils used for writing and drawing. It is also used as a lubricant and a pigment, as a molding material in glass manufacture, in electrodes for dry batteries and in electroplating and electroforming, in brushes for electric motors and as a neutron moderator in nuclear reactors. Charcoal has been used since earliest times for a large range of purposes including art and medicine, but by far its most important use has been as a metallurgical fuel. Carbon fibers are used where low weight, high stiffness, high conductivity, or where the look of the carbon fiber weave desired.

Boron and Carbon – Comparison in Table

Element Boron Carbon
Density 2.46 g/cm3 2.26 g/cm3
Ultimate Tensile Strength N/A 15 MPa (graphite); 3500 MPa (carbon fiber)
Yield Strength N/A N/A
Young’s Modulus of Elasticity N/A 4.1 GPa (graphite); 228 GPa (carbon fiber)
Mohs Scale 9.5 0.8 (graphite)
Brinell Hardness N/A N/A
Vickers Hardness 49000 MPa N/A
Melting Point 2079 °C 4099 °C
Boiling Point 3927 °C 4527 °C
Thermal Conductivity 27 W/mK 129 W/mK
Thermal Expansion Coefficient 5-7 µm/mK 0.8 µm/mK
Specific Heat 1.02 J/g K 0.71 J/g K
Heat of Fusion 50.2 kJ/mol N/A
Heat of Vaporization 508 kJ/mol 355.8 kJ/mol