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A compound of boron with a metal. Most metals form at least one boride of the type MB, MB2, MB4, MB6, or MB12. The compounds have a variety of structures; in particular, the hexaborides contain clusters of B6 atoms. The borides are all hard high-melting materials with metal-like conductivity. They can be made by direct combination of the elements at high temperatures (over 2000°C) or, more usually, by high-temperature reduction of a mixture of the metal oxide and boron oxide using carbon or aluminium. Chemically, they are stable to nonoxidizing acids but are attacked by strong oxidizing agents and by strong alkalis. Magnesium boride (MgB2) is unusual in that it can be hydrolysed to boranes. Industrially, metal borides are used as refractory materials. The most important are CrB, CrB2, TiB2, and ZnB2. Generally, they are fabricated using high-temperature powder metallurgy, in which the article is produced in a graphite die at over 2000°C and at very high pressure. Items are pressed as near to final shape as possible as machining requires diamond cutters and is extremely expensive.

Subjects: Chemistry.

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