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May 16 2012 4 16 /05 /May /2012 18:36

This will be my last elements post. I may be posting less often in the future due to work.


I have compiled a list of sources for the elements that are available to the amateur chemist. Bismuth will be discussed here.


Bismuth is the left-most metal on the periodic table and the only metal with more than four valence electrons. (All other such elements are nonmetals or semimetals.) Bismuth is a silvery gray metal that develops a pinkish hue on exposure to air due to the formation of an iridescent oxide layer. When bismuth is crystallized from a melt in air, the surface becomes multi-colored due to the formation of this oxide layer. Bismuth is one of the least toxic heavy metals, making it useful for replacing the more toxic lead. Bismuth is quite inert, with an activity slightly above copper. Therefore, it is insoluble in normal acids. Its compounds are prone to hydrolysis in aqueous solution. Bismuth is extremely slightly radioactive; the half-life of the dominant bismuth isotope is over a billion billion years. Its radioactivity was unnoticed until 2003.


In element form: Bismuth fishing sinkers and ammunition are relatively common, but expensive. Bismuth crystals are available for sale from mineral shops. Some lead-free solders are made with bismuth alloy.


In compound form: Pepto-Bismol contains bismuth subsalicylate.  Some internal deodorants have bismuth subgallate in them. Bismuth oxychloride is used in some cosmetics to obtain a shiny effects.


I have several sources of bismuth, but no pictures.

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Published by LanthanumK - in Elements
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