Bismuth: the essentials
Bismuth is a white, crystalline, brittle metal with a pinkish tinge. Bismuth is the most diamagnetic of all metals, and the thermal conductivity is lower than any metal, except mercury. It has a high electrical resistance, and has the highest Hall effect of any metal (that is, the greatest increase in electrical resistance when placed in a magnetic field).
Cartoon by Nick D Kim ([Science and Ink], used by permission).
Bismuth: historical information
In early times bismuth was confused with tin and lead. So although bismuth had been discussed many times before, Claude Geoffroy the Younger showed it to be distinct from lead in 1753.
Bismuth around us Read more »
Bismuth has no biological role. However it has been used for some time as a medicine (tripotassium dicitratobismuthate) for treatment of stomach upsets. In combination with antibiotics it is now used for treatment of some stomach ulcers. It is also to be found in haemorrhoid creams such as Anusol cream and Hemocaneas as bismuth oxide and in Anusol ointment as bismuth subgallate.
Elemental bismuth occurs as metallic crystals associated with nickel, cobalt, silver, tin, and uranium sulphide ores. Bismuth is found in the ores bismuthinite (Bi2S3), bismite (α-Bi2O3), and bismutite [(BiO)2CO3] from Peru, Japan, Mexico, Bolivia, England, Norway, Brazil, and Canada. It is more usual to recover it as a by-product from lead and copper smelting plants.
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Physical properties Read more »
Heat properties Read more »
- Melting point: 544.4 [271.3 °C (520.3 °F)] K
- Boiling point: 1837 [1564 °C (2847 °F)] K
- Enthalpy of fusion: 10.9 kJ mol-1
Crystal structure Read more »
The solid state structure of bismuth is: monoclinic.
Bismuth: orbital properties Read more »
Bismuth atoms have 83 electrons and the shell structure is 126.96.36.199.18.5. The ground state electronic configuration of neutral Bismuth is [Xe].4f14.5d10.6s2.6p3 and the term symbol of Bismuth is 4S3/2.
- Pauling electronegativity: 2.02 (Pauling units)
- First ionisation energy: 703 kJ mol‑1
- Second ionisation energy: 1610 kJ mol‑1
Isolation: it is not normally necessary to make bismuth in the laboratory as it is available commercially. Bismuth is found in nature largely as bismite (Bi2O3), bismuthinite (Bi2S3), and bismutite [(BiO)2CO3]. However it is generally made as a byproduct of copper, lead,tin, silver, gold, and zinc plants. The final step involves a reduction of the oxide by charcoal.
Bismuth isotopes Read more »