Preserving maritime history with borates

In Baltimore’s Inner Harbor sits the U.S.S. Constellation

In Baltimore’s Inner Harbor sits the U.S.S. Constellation, a more than 150-year-old wooden ship that served the United States Navy for nearly a century. Its age, however, is just a number. The historic vessel is channeling its youth through the use of borates.

Launched in 1854, the Constellation was the last all-sail ship designed and built for the U.S. Navy. Its missions were many, including freeing would-be slaves from Africa, relieving famine in Ireland, transporting art across the Atlantic, and providing a training base for U.S. sailors.

Through ongoing applications of Tim-bor, a highly water-soluble borate product created by Rio Tinto Minerals (U.S. Borax), its maritime history won’t soon be forgotten.

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Borates go to space

NASA Space Shuttle included 23,000 ceramic tiles

Many intricacies of space shuttle development are kept under wraps. But it’s no secret that borates played an integral part in keeping our astronauts safe.

Borates, which are used in glass of all types, coated the about 23,000 ceramic tiles on the underside of the space shuttle to help it withstand the thermal shock of reentry. Thermal shock occurs when temperatures change suddenly, as when the shuttle leaves the frigid temperatures of space and reenters Earth’s atmosphere at nearly 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you would like to see a tile firsthand, we invite you to our Visitor Center in Boron, California. The showcased tile is on loan from NASA.

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