Boron is a hard, fragile, non-metallic element with semiconductor properties. It reacts more like a non-metal in chemical compounds; however, pure boron is a good conductor of electricity. Crystalline boron resembles diamonds due to its optical characteristics and strength.
Due to their strength, boron alloys are often applied as abrasives. Boron is also of high importance in the field of nuclear energy. It is used in particle detectors and also as a component of neutron screens. Furthermore, boron is used in the field of vehicle safety in the manufacture of airbags.