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bismuth (Bi), the most metallic and the the very least abundant of the facets in the nitrogen group (Group 15 of the periodic table). Bismuth is hard, brittle, lustrous, and also coarsely crystalline. It can be distinguished from every other metals by that colour—gray-white v a reddish tinge.

Element Propertiesatomic numberatomic weightmelting pointboiling pointdensityoxidation stateselectron configuration
271.3 °C (520.3 °F)
1,560 °C (2,840 °F)
9.747 gram/cm3 at 20 °C (68 °F)
+3, +5
1s22s22p63s23p63d104s24p64d104f 145s25p65d106s26p3


Bismuth evidently was recognized in very early times, because it occurs in the indigenous state as well as in compounds. Because that a long period, however, it was not clearly recognized together a separate metal, having been confused with such steels as lead, antimony, and also tin. Miners during the Middle eras apparently thought bismuth to it is in a phase in the advance of silver- from baser metals and also were dismayed as soon as they uncovered a vein of the metal thinking they had interrupted the process. In the 15th-century works of the German monk Basil Valentine this facet is referred to as Wismut, a term that may have actually been obtained from a German phrase definition “white mass.” In any type of case it was Latinized come bisemutum by the mineralogist Georgius Agricola, who recognized its distinctive qualities and also described exactly how to obtain it indigenous its ores. Bismuth was embraced as a certain metal through the center of the 18th century, and works top top its chemistry were published in 1739 through the German chemist Johann Heinrich Pott and also in 1753 by the Frenchman Claude-François Geoffroy.


The routine table is made up of 118 elements. How well perform you know their symbols? In this quiz you’ll be shown all 118 chemical symbols, and also you’ll need to pick the name of the chemical element that each one represents.

Occurrence and also distribution

Bismuth is about as plentiful as silver, contributing about 2 × 10−5 load percent of earth crust. That cosmic diversity is approximated as about one atom to every 7,000,000 atoms of silicon. It wake up both native and also in compounds. In the aboriginal state, the is discovered in veins linked with lead, zinc, tin, and also silver ores in Bolivia, Canada, England, and Germany. The naturally developing compounds are chiefly the oxide (bismite or bismuth ochre, Bi2O3), the sulfide (bismuthinite or bismuth glance, Bi2S3), and also two carbonates (bismutite, (BiO)2CO3, and bismutosphaerite). Advertisement bismuth, however, is developed largely together a by-product in the smelting and refining the lead, tin, copper, silver, and gold ores. Thus, it comes—for example—from tungsten ores in south Korea, command ores in Mexico, copper ores in Bolivia, and also both lead and also copper ores in Japan. Through the early 21st century, however, China was leading the human being in both the mining and also the refining the bismuth. Pure bismuth can likewise be derived by reducing the oxide through carbon or through roasting the sulfide in the existence of charcoal and also metallic stole to remove the sulfur.

Bismuth develops only one secure isotope, the of mass 209. A large number of radiation isotopes room known, most of them really unstable.

Commercial production and uses

Bismuth is volatile at high temperature, however it usually stays with the other steels after smelting operations. Electrolytic refining the copper leaves bismuth behind as one ingredient of the anode sludge. Separation that bismuth from lead by the Betterton–Kroll process involves the formation of high-melting calcium or magnesium bismuthide (Ca3Bi2 or Mg3Bi2), i beg your pardon separates and can be skimmed off as dross. The dross may be chlorinated to remove the magnesium or calcium, and finally the entrained lead. Treatment v sodium hydroxide then produces extremely pure bismuth. An alternate separation, the Betts process, requires electrolytic refining of lead bullion (containing bismuth and other impurities) in a solution of lead fluosilicate and cost-free fluosilicic acid, bismuth gift recovered indigenous the anode sludge. Separation that bismuth from its oxide or carbonate ores can be effected by leaching with focused hydrochloric acid. Dilution then precipitates the oxychloride, BiOCl. This, ~ above heating with lime and also charcoal, to produce metallic bismuth.

Metallic bismuth is offered principally in alloys, to countless of which the imparts its very own special nature of low melting suggest and expansion on solidification (like water and antimony). Bismuth is therefore a beneficial component of type-metal alloys, which do neat, clean castings; and also it is crucial ingredient that low-melting alloys, dubbed fusible alloys, which have actually a big variety the applications, especially in fire-detection equipment. A bismuth–manganese alloy has been discovered effective as a permanent magnet. Little concentrations of bismuth improve the machinability that aluminum, steel, stainless steels, and also other alloys and also suppress the separation that graphite indigenous malleable cast iron. Thermoelectric tools for refrigeration make use of bismuth telluride, Bi2Te3, and bismuth selenide, Bi2Se3. Fluid bismuth has been used as a fuel carrier and coolant in the generation of atom energy.

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The principal chemical applications of bismuth is in the kind of bismuth phosphomolybdate (BiPMo12O40), i m sorry is an efficient catalyst for the wait oxidation of propylene and also ammonia to acrylonitrile. The last is supplied to make acrylic fibres, paints, and plastics. Pharmaceutical offers of bismuth have been exercised for centuries. It is efficient in indigestion remedies and also antisyphilitic drugs. Slightly dissolve or insoluble salts are utilized in the therapy of wounds and also gastric disorders and also in outlining the alimentary tract throughout X-ray examination, and bismuth is sometimes injected in the form of finely divided metal, or together suspensions the its insoluble salts. An extensive quantities the the oxychloride, BiOCl, have actually been used to impart a pearlescent quality to lipstick, nail polish, and eye shadow.