sodium tetraborate decahydrate
Lets ask ourselves if these are really the same thing by finding the
makeup of chemical compounds:
1.) Borax is Na2 B4 O7 10H2O (also known as sodium borate
decahydrate; sodium pyroborate; birax; sodium tetraborate
decahydrate; sodium biborate) a natural mineral compound
2.) boric acid is H3BO3
Now, lets ask ourselves what are the pH [meaning "parts hydrogen"]
properties of these two substances? Remembering neutral is 7.0
Distilled water! Do they tend to be either an "acid" or a "base":
1.) The pH of borax is about 9.3 or 9.5
2.) The ph of boric acid is about 5.0 - a clue: it has the word
"acid" in it's name.
Remember the pH scale goes from (0) zero (most acidic) at the low
end of the pH spectrum and 14 at the most (base) alkaline at the high
end of the pH spectrum; the smaller the pH number the more acidic -
conversely, the higher the pH number the more alkalinity.
Thinking this through; we do not want to unintentionally make our
studios into little laboratory experiements. We all know the smell of
vinegar (pH of about 3.0) is different from the smell of ammonia (pH
of about 12).
So, in closing; black coffee is about a 5.0 on the pH scale. Lemon
juice is about pH 2.0.- therefore, boric acid is about as acidic as
black coffee and borax is more...yes... more alkaline. Something must
be making it these two things "different".