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Bismuth is a chemical element
Chemical element
A chemical element is a pure chemical substance consisting of one type of atom distinguished by its atomic number, which is the number of protons in its nucleus. Familiar examples of elements include carbon, oxygen, aluminum, iron, copper, gold, mercury, and lead.As of November 2011, 118 elements...

 with symbol Bi and atomic number
Atomic number
In chemistry and physics, the atomic number is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom and therefore identical to the charge number of the nucleus. It is conventionally represented by the symbol Z. The atomic number uniquely identifies a chemical element...

 83. Bismuth, a trivalent poor metal, chemically resembles arsenic
Arsenic
Arsenic is a chemical element with the symbol As, atomic number 33 and relative atomic mass 74.92. Arsenic occurs in many minerals, usually in conjunction with sulfur and metals, and also as a pure elemental crystal. It was first documented by Albertus Magnus in 1250.Arsenic is a metalloid...

 and antimony
Antimony
Antimony is a toxic chemical element with the symbol Sb and an atomic number of 51. A lustrous grey metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite...

. Elemental bismuth may occur naturally uncombined, although its sulfide and oxide form important commercial ores. The free element
Free element
In chemistry, a free element is a chemical element that is uncombined with other elements....

 is 86% as dense as lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

. It is a brittle metal with a silvery white color when newly made, but often seen in air with a pink tinge owing to the surface oxide. Bismuth metal has been known from ancient times, although until the 18th century it was often confused with lead and tin, which each have some of the metal's bulk physical properties. The etymology is uncertain but possibly comes from Arabic "bi ismid" meaning having the properties of antimony or German words weisse masse or wismuth meaning white mass.

Bismuth is the most naturally diamagnetic
Diamagnetism
Diamagnetism is the property of an object which causes it to create a magnetic field in opposition to an externally applied magnetic field, thus causing a repulsive effect. Specifically, an external magnetic field alters the orbital velocity of electrons around their nuclei, thus changing the...

 of all metals, and only mercury
Mercury (element)
Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is also known as quicksilver or hydrargyrum...

 has a lower thermal conductivity
Thermal conductivity
In physics, thermal conductivity, k, is the property of a material's ability to conduct heat. It appears primarily in Fourier's Law for heat conduction....

.

Bismuth has classically been considered to be the heaviest naturally occurring stable element, in terms of atomic mass. Recently, however, it has been found to be very slightly radioactive: its only primordial isotope bismuth-209
Bismuth-209
Bismuth-209 is the isotope of bismuth with the longest half-life. It has 83 protons and 126 neutrons, and an atomic mass of 208.9803987 u. All primordial bismuth is of this isotope...

 decays via alpha decay
Alpha decay
Alpha decay is a type of radioactive decay in which an atomic nucleus emits an alpha particle and thereby transforms into an atom with a mass number 4 less and atomic number 2 less...

 into thallium-205 with a half-life
Half-life
Half-life, abbreviated t½, is the period of time it takes for the amount of a substance undergoing decay to decrease by half. The name was originally used to describe a characteristic of unstable atoms , but it may apply to any quantity which follows a set-rate decay.The original term, dating to...

 of more than a billion
1000000000 (number)
1,000,000,000 is the natural number following 999,999,999 and preceding 1,000,000,001.In scientific notation, it is written as 109....

 times the estimated age of the universe
Age of the universe
The age of the universe is the time elapsed since the Big Bang posited by the most widely accepted scientific model of cosmology. The best current estimate of the age of the universe is 13.75 ± 0.13 billion years within the Lambda-CDM concordance model...

.

Bismuth compounds (accounting for about half the production of bismuth) are used in cosmetics
Cosmetics
Cosmetics are substances used to enhance the appearance or odor of the human body. Cosmetics include skin-care creams, lotions, powders, perfumes, lipsticks, fingernail and toe nail polish, eye and facial makeup, towelettes, permanent waves, colored contact lenses, hair colors, hair sprays and...

, pigments, and a few pharmaceuticals. Bismuth has unusually low toxicity
Toxicity
Toxicity is the degree to which a substance can damage a living or non-living organisms. Toxicity can refer to the effect on a whole organism, such as an animal, bacterium, or plant, as well as the effect on a substructure of the organism, such as a cell or an organ , such as the liver...

 for a heavy metal. As the toxicity of lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 has become more apparent in recent years, alloy uses for bismuth metal (presently about a third of bismuth production), as a replacement for lead, have become an increasing part of bismuth's commercial importance.

Characteristics


Physical characteristics


Bismuth is a brittle metal
Metal
A metal , is an element, compound, or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat. Metals are usually malleable and shiny, that is they reflect most of incident light...

 with a white, silver-pink hue, often occurring in its native form with an iridescent
Iridescence
Iridescence is generally known as the property of certain surfaces which appear to change color as the angle of view or the angle of illumination changes...

 oxide
Bismuth trioxide
Bismuth oxide is perhaps the most industrially important compound of bismuth. It is also a common starting point for bismuth chemistry. It is found naturally as the mineral bismite and sphaerobismoite , but it is usually obtained as a by-product of the smelting of copper and lead ores...

 tarnish showing many colors from yellow to blue. The spiral stair stepped structure of a bismuth crystal
Crystal
A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituent atoms, molecules, or ions are arranged in an orderly repeating pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions. The scientific study of crystals and crystal formation is known as crystallography...

 is the result of a higher growth rate around the outside edges than on the inside edges. The variations in the thickness of the oxide layer that forms on the surface of the crystal causes different wavelengths of light to interfere upon reflection, thus displaying a rainbow of colors. When combusted
Combustion
Combustion or burning is the sequence of exothermic chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant accompanied by the production of heat and conversion of chemical species. The release of heat can result in the production of light in the form of either glowing or a flame...

 with oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

, bismuth burns with a blue
Blue
Blue is a colour, the perception of which is evoked by light having a spectrum dominated by energy with a wavelength of roughly 440–490 nm. It is considered one of the additive primary colours. On the HSV Colour Wheel, the complement of blue is yellow; that is, a colour corresponding to an equal...

 flame
Flame
A flame is the visible , gaseous part of a fire. It is caused by a highly exothermic reaction taking place in a thin zone...

 and its oxide forms yellow
Yellow
Yellow is the color evoked by light that stimulates both the L and M cone cells of the retina about equally, with no significant stimulation of the S cone cells. Light with a wavelength of 570–590 nm is yellow, as is light with a suitable mixture of red and green...

 fumes
Vapor
A vapor or vapour is a substance in the gas phase at a temperature lower than its critical point....

. Its toxicity
Toxicity
Toxicity is the degree to which a substance can damage a living or non-living organisms. Toxicity can refer to the effect on a whole organism, such as an animal, bacterium, or plant, as well as the effect on a substructure of the organism, such as a cell or an organ , such as the liver...

 is much lower than that of its neighbors in the periodic table
Periodic table
The periodic table of the chemical elements is a tabular display of the 118 known chemical elements organized by selected properties of their atomic structures. Elements are presented by increasing atomic number, the number of protons in an atom's atomic nucleus...

 such as lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

, tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

, tellurium, antimony
Antimony
Antimony is a toxic chemical element with the symbol Sb and an atomic number of 51. A lustrous grey metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite...

, and polonium
Polonium
Polonium is a chemical element with the symbol Po and atomic number 84, discovered in 1898 by Marie Skłodowska-Curie and Pierre Curie. A rare and highly radioactive element, polonium is chemically similar to bismuth and tellurium, and it occurs in uranium ores. Polonium has been studied for...

.

Although ununpentium
Ununpentium
Ununpentium is the temporary name of a synthetic superheavy element in the periodic table that has the temporary symbol Uup and has the atomic number 115....

 is theoretically more diamagnetic
Diamagnetism
Diamagnetism is the property of an object which causes it to create a magnetic field in opposition to an externally applied magnetic field, thus causing a repulsive effect. Specifically, an external magnetic field alters the orbital velocity of electrons around their nuclei, thus changing the...

, no other metal
Metal
A metal , is an element, compound, or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat. Metals are usually malleable and shiny, that is they reflect most of incident light...

 is verified to be more naturally diamagnetic than bismuth. It is the most diamagnetic of naturally occurring elements. (Superdiamagnetism
Superdiamagnetism
Superdiamagnetism is a phenomenon occurring in certain materials at low temperatures, characterised by the complete absence of magnetic permeability and the exclusion of the interior magnetic field. Superdiamagnetism is a feature of superconductivity...

 is a different physical phenomenon.) Of any metal, it has the second lowest thermal conductivity
Thermal conductivity
In physics, thermal conductivity, k, is the property of a material's ability to conduct heat. It appears primarily in Fourier's Law for heat conduction....

 (after mercury
Mercury (element)
Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is also known as quicksilver or hydrargyrum...

) and the highest Hall coefficient
Hall effect
The Hall effect is the production of a voltage difference across an electrical conductor, transverse to an electric current in the conductor and a magnetic field perpendicular to the current...

. It has a high electrical resistance
Electrical resistance
The electrical resistance of an electrical element is the opposition to the passage of an electric current through that element; the inverse quantity is electrical conductance, the ease at which an electric current passes. Electrical resistance shares some conceptual parallels with the mechanical...

. When deposited in sufficiently thin layers on a substrate, bismuth is a semiconductor
Semiconductor
A semiconductor is a material with electrical conductivity due to electron flow intermediate in magnitude between that of a conductor and an insulator. This means a conductivity roughly in the range of 103 to 10−8 siemens per centimeter...

, rather than a poor metal.

Elemental bismuth is one of very few substances of which the liquid
Liquid
Liquid is one of the three classical states of matter . Like a gas, a liquid is able to flow and take the shape of a container. Some liquids resist compression, while others can be compressed. Unlike a gas, a liquid does not disperse to fill every space of a container, and maintains a fairly...

 phase is denser
Density
The mass density or density of a material is defined as its mass per unit volume. The symbol most often used for density is ρ . In some cases , density is also defined as its weight per unit volume; although, this quantity is more properly called specific weight...

 than its solid
Solid
Solid is one of the three classical states of matter . It is characterized by structural rigidity and resistance to changes of shape or volume. Unlike a liquid, a solid object does not flow to take on the shape of its container, nor does it expand to fill the entire volume available to it like a...

 phase (water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 being the best-known example). Bismuth expands 3.32% on solidification; therefore, it was long an important component of low-melting typesetting
Typesetting
Typesetting is the composition of text by means of types.Typesetting requires the prior process of designing a font and storing it in some manner...

 alloy
Alloy
An alloy is a mixture or metallic solid solution composed of two or more elements. Complete solid solution alloys give single solid phase microstructure, while partial solutions give two or more phases that may or may not be homogeneous in distribution, depending on thermal history...

s, where it compensated for the contraction of the other alloying components.

Though virtually unseen in nature, high-purity bismuth can form distinctive colorful hopper crystal
Hopper crystal
thumb|300px|right|Synthetic bismuth crystalA hopper crystal is a form of crystal, defined by its "hoppered" shape.The edges of hoppered crystals are fully developed, but the interior spaces are not filled in. This results in what appears to be a hollowed out step lattice formation, as if someone...

s. Bismuth is relatively nontoxic and has a low melting point just above 271 °C, so crystals may be grown using a household stove, although the resulting crystals will tend to be lower quality than lab-grown crystals.

Chemical characteristics


Bismuth is stable to both dry and moist air at ordinary temperatures. When red-hot it reacts with water to make bismuth(III) oxide.
2 Bi + 3 H2O → Bi2O3 + 3 H2


It reacts with large amounts of fluorine
Fluorine
Fluorine is the chemical element with atomic number 9, represented by the symbol F. It is the lightest element of the halogen column of the periodic table and has a single stable isotope, fluorine-19. At standard pressure and temperature, fluorine is a pale yellow gas composed of diatomic...

 to make bismuth(V) fluoride.
2 Bi + 5 F2 → 2 BiF5


It reacts with small amounts of fluorine to make bismuth(III) fluoride.
2 Bi + 3 F2 → 2 BiF3


It also reacts with the other halogen
Halogen
The halogens or halogen elements are a series of nonmetal elements from Group 17 IUPAC Style of the periodic table, comprising fluorine , chlorine , bromine , iodine , and astatine...

s to make bismuth(III) halides.
2 Bi + 3 Cl2 → 2 BiCl3

2 Bi + 3 Br2 → 2 BiBr3

2 Bi + 3 I2 → 2 BiI3


It dissolves in concentrated sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid is a strong mineral acid with the molecular formula . Its historical name is oil of vitriol. Pure sulfuric acid is a highly corrosive, colorless, viscous liquid. The salts of sulfuric acid are called sulfates...

 to make bismuth(III) sulfate and sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide is the chemical compound with the formula . It is released by volcanoes and in various industrial processes. Since coal and petroleum often contain sulfur compounds, their combustion generates sulfur dioxide unless the sulfur compounds are removed before burning the fuel...

.
6 H2SO4 + 2 Bi → 6 H2O + Bi2(SO4)3 + 3 SO2


It reacts with nitric acid
Nitric acid
Nitric acid , also known as aqua fortis and spirit of nitre, is a highly corrosive and toxic strong acid.Colorless when pure, older samples tend to acquire a yellow cast due to the accumulation of oxides of nitrogen. If the solution contains more than 86% nitric acid, it is referred to as fuming...

 to make bismuth(III) nitrate.
Bi + 6 HNO3 → 3 H2O + 3 NO2 + Bi(NO3)3


It also dissolves in hydrochloric acid
Hydrochloric acid
Hydrochloric acid is a solution of hydrogen chloride in water, that is a highly corrosive, strong mineral acid with many industrial uses. It is found naturally in gastric acid....

 but only if there is oxygen present.
4 Bi + 3 O2 + 12 HCl → 4 BiCl3 + 6 H2O

Isotopes



The only primordial isotope
Isotope
Isotopes are variants of atoms of a particular chemical element, which have differing numbers of neutrons. Atoms of a particular element by definition must contain the same number of protons but may have a distinct number of neutrons which differs from atom to atom, without changing the designation...

 of bismuth, bismuth-209
Bismuth-209
Bismuth-209 is the isotope of bismuth with the longest half-life. It has 83 protons and 126 neutrons, and an atomic mass of 208.9803987 u. All primordial bismuth is of this isotope...

, was traditionally regarded as the heaviest stable isotope, but it had long been suspected to be unstable on theoretical grounds. This was finally demonstrated in 2003 when researchers at the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale in Orsay
Orsay
Orsay is a commune in the Essonne department in Île-de-France in northern France. It is located in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France, from the center of Paris.Inhabitants of Orsay are known as Orcéens.-History:...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, measured the alpha emission
Alpha decay
Alpha decay is a type of radioactive decay in which an atomic nucleus emits an alpha particle and thereby transforms into an atom with a mass number 4 less and atomic number 2 less...

 half-life
Half-life
Half-life, abbreviated t½, is the period of time it takes for the amount of a substance undergoing decay to decrease by half. The name was originally used to describe a characteristic of unstable atoms , but it may apply to any quantity which follows a set-rate decay.The original term, dating to...

 of to be
{{infobox bismuth}}
Bismuth (icon {{respell|BIZ|məth}}) is a chemical element
Chemical element
A chemical element is a pure chemical substance consisting of one type of atom distinguished by its atomic number, which is the number of protons in its nucleus. Familiar examples of elements include carbon, oxygen, aluminum, iron, copper, gold, mercury, and lead.As of November 2011, 118 elements...

 with symbol Bi and atomic number
Atomic number
In chemistry and physics, the atomic number is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom and therefore identical to the charge number of the nucleus. It is conventionally represented by the symbol Z. The atomic number uniquely identifies a chemical element...

 83. Bismuth, a trivalent poor metal, chemically resembles arsenic
Arsenic
Arsenic is a chemical element with the symbol As, atomic number 33 and relative atomic mass 74.92. Arsenic occurs in many minerals, usually in conjunction with sulfur and metals, and also as a pure elemental crystal. It was first documented by Albertus Magnus in 1250.Arsenic is a metalloid...

 and antimony
Antimony
Antimony is a toxic chemical element with the symbol Sb and an atomic number of 51. A lustrous grey metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite...

. Elemental bismuth may occur naturally uncombined, although its sulfide and oxide form important commercial ores. The free element
Free element
In chemistry, a free element is a chemical element that is uncombined with other elements....

 is 86% as dense as lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

. It is a brittle metal with a silvery white color when newly made, but often seen in air with a pink tinge owing to the surface oxide. Bismuth metal has been known from ancient times, although until the 18th century it was often confused with lead and tin, which each have some of the metal's bulk physical properties. The etymology is uncertain but possibly comes from Arabic "bi ismid" meaning having the properties of antimony or German words weisse masse or wismuth meaning white mass.

Bismuth is the most naturally diamagnetic
Diamagnetism
Diamagnetism is the property of an object which causes it to create a magnetic field in opposition to an externally applied magnetic field, thus causing a repulsive effect. Specifically, an external magnetic field alters the orbital velocity of electrons around their nuclei, thus changing the...

 of all metals, and only mercury
Mercury (element)
Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is also known as quicksilver or hydrargyrum...

 has a lower thermal conductivity
Thermal conductivity
In physics, thermal conductivity, k, is the property of a material's ability to conduct heat. It appears primarily in Fourier's Law for heat conduction....

.

Bismuth has classically been considered to be the heaviest naturally occurring stable element, in terms of atomic mass. Recently, however, it has been found to be very slightly radioactive: its only primordial isotope bismuth-209
Bismuth-209
Bismuth-209 is the isotope of bismuth with the longest half-life. It has 83 protons and 126 neutrons, and an atomic mass of 208.9803987 u. All primordial bismuth is of this isotope...

 decays via alpha decay
Alpha decay
Alpha decay is a type of radioactive decay in which an atomic nucleus emits an alpha particle and thereby transforms into an atom with a mass number 4 less and atomic number 2 less...

 into thallium-205 with a half-life
Half-life
Half-life, abbreviated t½, is the period of time it takes for the amount of a substance undergoing decay to decrease by half. The name was originally used to describe a characteristic of unstable atoms , but it may apply to any quantity which follows a set-rate decay.The original term, dating to...

 of more than a billion
1000000000 (number)
1,000,000,000 is the natural number following 999,999,999 and preceding 1,000,000,001.In scientific notation, it is written as 109....

 times the estimated age of the universe
Age of the universe
The age of the universe is the time elapsed since the Big Bang posited by the most widely accepted scientific model of cosmology. The best current estimate of the age of the universe is 13.75 ± 0.13 billion years within the Lambda-CDM concordance model...

.

Bismuth compounds (accounting for about half the production of bismuth) are used in cosmetics
Cosmetics
Cosmetics are substances used to enhance the appearance or odor of the human body. Cosmetics include skin-care creams, lotions, powders, perfumes, lipsticks, fingernail and toe nail polish, eye and facial makeup, towelettes, permanent waves, colored contact lenses, hair colors, hair sprays and...

, pigments, and a few pharmaceuticals. Bismuth has unusually low toxicity
Toxicity
Toxicity is the degree to which a substance can damage a living or non-living organisms. Toxicity can refer to the effect on a whole organism, such as an animal, bacterium, or plant, as well as the effect on a substructure of the organism, such as a cell or an organ , such as the liver...

 for a heavy metal. As the toxicity of lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 has become more apparent in recent years, alloy uses for bismuth metal (presently about a third of bismuth production), as a replacement for lead, have become an increasing part of bismuth's commercial importance.

Characteristics


Physical characteristics


Bismuth is a brittle metal
Metal
A metal , is an element, compound, or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat. Metals are usually malleable and shiny, that is they reflect most of incident light...

 with a white, silver-pink hue, often occurring in its native form with an iridescent
Iridescence
Iridescence is generally known as the property of certain surfaces which appear to change color as the angle of view or the angle of illumination changes...

 oxide
Bismuth trioxide
Bismuth oxide is perhaps the most industrially important compound of bismuth. It is also a common starting point for bismuth chemistry. It is found naturally as the mineral bismite and sphaerobismoite , but it is usually obtained as a by-product of the smelting of copper and lead ores...

 tarnish showing many colors from yellow to blue. The spiral stair stepped structure of a bismuth crystal
Crystal
A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituent atoms, molecules, or ions are arranged in an orderly repeating pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions. The scientific study of crystals and crystal formation is known as crystallography...

 is the result of a higher growth rate around the outside edges than on the inside edges. The variations in the thickness of the oxide layer that forms on the surface of the crystal causes different wavelengths of light to interfere upon reflection, thus displaying a rainbow of colors. When combusted
Combustion
Combustion or burning is the sequence of exothermic chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant accompanied by the production of heat and conversion of chemical species. The release of heat can result in the production of light in the form of either glowing or a flame...

 with oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

, bismuth burns with a blue
Blue
Blue is a colour, the perception of which is evoked by light having a spectrum dominated by energy with a wavelength of roughly 440–490 nm. It is considered one of the additive primary colours. On the HSV Colour Wheel, the complement of blue is yellow; that is, a colour corresponding to an equal...

 flame
Flame
A flame is the visible , gaseous part of a fire. It is caused by a highly exothermic reaction taking place in a thin zone...

 and its oxide forms yellow
Yellow
Yellow is the color evoked by light that stimulates both the L and M cone cells of the retina about equally, with no significant stimulation of the S cone cells. Light with a wavelength of 570–590 nm is yellow, as is light with a suitable mixture of red and green...

 fumes
Vapor
A vapor or vapour is a substance in the gas phase at a temperature lower than its critical point....

. Its toxicity
Toxicity
Toxicity is the degree to which a substance can damage a living or non-living organisms. Toxicity can refer to the effect on a whole organism, such as an animal, bacterium, or plant, as well as the effect on a substructure of the organism, such as a cell or an organ , such as the liver...

 is much lower than that of its neighbors in the periodic table
Periodic table
The periodic table of the chemical elements is a tabular display of the 118 known chemical elements organized by selected properties of their atomic structures. Elements are presented by increasing atomic number, the number of protons in an atom's atomic nucleus...

 such as lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

, tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

, tellurium, antimony
Antimony
Antimony is a toxic chemical element with the symbol Sb and an atomic number of 51. A lustrous grey metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite...

, and polonium
Polonium
Polonium is a chemical element with the symbol Po and atomic number 84, discovered in 1898 by Marie Skłodowska-Curie and Pierre Curie. A rare and highly radioactive element, polonium is chemically similar to bismuth and tellurium, and it occurs in uranium ores. Polonium has been studied for...

.

Although ununpentium
Ununpentium
Ununpentium is the temporary name of a synthetic superheavy element in the periodic table that has the temporary symbol Uup and has the atomic number 115....

 is theoretically more diamagnetic
Diamagnetism
Diamagnetism is the property of an object which causes it to create a magnetic field in opposition to an externally applied magnetic field, thus causing a repulsive effect. Specifically, an external magnetic field alters the orbital velocity of electrons around their nuclei, thus changing the...

, no other metal
Metal
A metal , is an element, compound, or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat. Metals are usually malleable and shiny, that is they reflect most of incident light...

 is verified to be more naturally diamagnetic than bismuth. It is the most diamagnetic of naturally occurring elements. (Superdiamagnetism
Superdiamagnetism
Superdiamagnetism is a phenomenon occurring in certain materials at low temperatures, characterised by the complete absence of magnetic permeability and the exclusion of the interior magnetic field. Superdiamagnetism is a feature of superconductivity...

 is a different physical phenomenon.) Of any metal, it has the second lowest thermal conductivity
Thermal conductivity
In physics, thermal conductivity, k, is the property of a material's ability to conduct heat. It appears primarily in Fourier's Law for heat conduction....

 (after mercury
Mercury (element)
Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is also known as quicksilver or hydrargyrum...

) and the highest Hall coefficient
Hall effect
The Hall effect is the production of a voltage difference across an electrical conductor, transverse to an electric current in the conductor and a magnetic field perpendicular to the current...

. It has a high electrical resistance
Electrical resistance
The electrical resistance of an electrical element is the opposition to the passage of an electric current through that element; the inverse quantity is electrical conductance, the ease at which an electric current passes. Electrical resistance shares some conceptual parallels with the mechanical...

. When deposited in sufficiently thin layers on a substrate, bismuth is a semiconductor
Semiconductor
A semiconductor is a material with electrical conductivity due to electron flow intermediate in magnitude between that of a conductor and an insulator. This means a conductivity roughly in the range of 103 to 10−8 siemens per centimeter...

, rather than a poor metal.

Elemental bismuth is one of very few substances of which the liquid
Liquid
Liquid is one of the three classical states of matter . Like a gas, a liquid is able to flow and take the shape of a container. Some liquids resist compression, while others can be compressed. Unlike a gas, a liquid does not disperse to fill every space of a container, and maintains a fairly...

 phase is denser
Density
The mass density or density of a material is defined as its mass per unit volume. The symbol most often used for density is ρ . In some cases , density is also defined as its weight per unit volume; although, this quantity is more properly called specific weight...

 than its solid
Solid
Solid is one of the three classical states of matter . It is characterized by structural rigidity and resistance to changes of shape or volume. Unlike a liquid, a solid object does not flow to take on the shape of its container, nor does it expand to fill the entire volume available to it like a...

 phase (water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 being the best-known example). Bismuth expands 3.32% on solidification; therefore, it was long an important component of low-melting typesetting
Typesetting
Typesetting is the composition of text by means of types.Typesetting requires the prior process of designing a font and storing it in some manner...

 alloy
Alloy
An alloy is a mixture or metallic solid solution composed of two or more elements. Complete solid solution alloys give single solid phase microstructure, while partial solutions give two or more phases that may or may not be homogeneous in distribution, depending on thermal history...

s, where it compensated for the contraction of the other alloying components.

Though virtually unseen in nature, high-purity bismuth can form distinctive colorful hopper crystal
Hopper crystal
thumb|300px|right|Synthetic bismuth crystalA hopper crystal is a form of crystal, defined by its "hoppered" shape.The edges of hoppered crystals are fully developed, but the interior spaces are not filled in. This results in what appears to be a hollowed out step lattice formation, as if someone...

s. Bismuth is relatively nontoxic and has a low melting point just above 271 °C, so crystals may be grown using a household stove, although the resulting crystals will tend to be lower quality than lab-grown crystals.

Chemical characteristics


Bismuth is stable to both dry and moist air at ordinary temperatures. When red-hot it reacts with water to make bismuth(III) oxide.
2 Bi + 3 H2O → Bi2O3 + 3 H2


It reacts with large amounts of fluorine
Fluorine
Fluorine is the chemical element with atomic number 9, represented by the symbol F. It is the lightest element of the halogen column of the periodic table and has a single stable isotope, fluorine-19. At standard pressure and temperature, fluorine is a pale yellow gas composed of diatomic...

 to make bismuth(V) fluoride.
2 Bi + 5 F2 → 2 BiF5


It reacts with small amounts of fluorine to make bismuth(III) fluoride.
2 Bi + 3 F2 → 2 BiF3


It also reacts with the other halogen
Halogen
The halogens or halogen elements are a series of nonmetal elements from Group 17 IUPAC Style of the periodic table, comprising fluorine , chlorine , bromine , iodine , and astatine...

s to make bismuth(III) halides.
2 Bi + 3 Cl2 → 2 BiCl3

2 Bi + 3 Br2 → 2 BiBr3

2 Bi + 3 I2 → 2 BiI3


It dissolves in concentrated sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid is a strong mineral acid with the molecular formula . Its historical name is oil of vitriol. Pure sulfuric acid is a highly corrosive, colorless, viscous liquid. The salts of sulfuric acid are called sulfates...

 to make bismuth(III) sulfate and sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide is the chemical compound with the formula . It is released by volcanoes and in various industrial processes. Since coal and petroleum often contain sulfur compounds, their combustion generates sulfur dioxide unless the sulfur compounds are removed before burning the fuel...

.
6 H2SO4 + 2 Bi → 6 H2O + Bi2(SO4)3 + 3 SO2


It reacts with nitric acid
Nitric acid
Nitric acid , also known as aqua fortis and spirit of nitre, is a highly corrosive and toxic strong acid.Colorless when pure, older samples tend to acquire a yellow cast due to the accumulation of oxides of nitrogen. If the solution contains more than 86% nitric acid, it is referred to as fuming...

 to make bismuth(III) nitrate.
Bi + 6 HNO3 → 3 H2O + 3 NO2 + Bi(NO3)3


It also dissolves in hydrochloric acid
Hydrochloric acid
Hydrochloric acid is a solution of hydrogen chloride in water, that is a highly corrosive, strong mineral acid with many industrial uses. It is found naturally in gastric acid....

 but only if there is oxygen present.
4 Bi + 3 O2 + 12 HCl → 4 BiCl3 + 6 H2O

Isotopes


{{main|Isotopes of bismuth}}
The only primordial isotope
Isotope
Isotopes are variants of atoms of a particular chemical element, which have differing numbers of neutrons. Atoms of a particular element by definition must contain the same number of protons but may have a distinct number of neutrons which differs from atom to atom, without changing the designation...

 of bismuth, bismuth-209
Bismuth-209
Bismuth-209 is the isotope of bismuth with the longest half-life. It has 83 protons and 126 neutrons, and an atomic mass of 208.9803987 u. All primordial bismuth is of this isotope...

, was traditionally regarded as the heaviest stable isotope, but it had long been suspected to be unstable on theoretical grounds. This was finally demonstrated in 2003 when researchers at the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale in Orsay
Orsay
Orsay is a commune in the Essonne department in Île-de-France in northern France. It is located in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France, from the center of Paris.Inhabitants of Orsay are known as Orcéens.-History:...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, measured the alpha emission
Alpha decay
Alpha decay is a type of radioactive decay in which an atomic nucleus emits an alpha particle and thereby transforms into an atom with a mass number 4 less and atomic number 2 less...

 half-life
Half-life
Half-life, abbreviated t½, is the period of time it takes for the amount of a substance undergoing decay to decrease by half. The name was originally used to describe a characteristic of unstable atoms , but it may apply to any quantity which follows a set-rate decay.The original term, dating to...

 of {{SimpleNuclide2|Bismuth|209|link=yes}} to be
{{infobox bismuth}}
Bismuth (icon {{respell|BIZ|məth}}) is a chemical element
Chemical element
A chemical element is a pure chemical substance consisting of one type of atom distinguished by its atomic number, which is the number of protons in its nucleus. Familiar examples of elements include carbon, oxygen, aluminum, iron, copper, gold, mercury, and lead.As of November 2011, 118 elements...

 with symbol Bi and atomic number
Atomic number
In chemistry and physics, the atomic number is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom and therefore identical to the charge number of the nucleus. It is conventionally represented by the symbol Z. The atomic number uniquely identifies a chemical element...

 83. Bismuth, a trivalent poor metal, chemically resembles arsenic
Arsenic
Arsenic is a chemical element with the symbol As, atomic number 33 and relative atomic mass 74.92. Arsenic occurs in many minerals, usually in conjunction with sulfur and metals, and also as a pure elemental crystal. It was first documented by Albertus Magnus in 1250.Arsenic is a metalloid...

 and antimony
Antimony
Antimony is a toxic chemical element with the symbol Sb and an atomic number of 51. A lustrous grey metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite...

. Elemental bismuth may occur naturally uncombined, although its sulfide and oxide form important commercial ores. The free element
Free element
In chemistry, a free element is a chemical element that is uncombined with other elements....

 is 86% as dense as lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

. It is a brittle metal with a silvery white color when newly made, but often seen in air with a pink tinge owing to the surface oxide. Bismuth metal has been known from ancient times, although until the 18th century it was often confused with lead and tin, which each have some of the metal's bulk physical properties. The etymology is uncertain but possibly comes from Arabic "bi ismid" meaning having the properties of antimony or German words weisse masse or wismuth meaning white mass.

Bismuth is the most naturally diamagnetic
Diamagnetism
Diamagnetism is the property of an object which causes it to create a magnetic field in opposition to an externally applied magnetic field, thus causing a repulsive effect. Specifically, an external magnetic field alters the orbital velocity of electrons around their nuclei, thus changing the...

 of all metals, and only mercury
Mercury (element)
Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is also known as quicksilver or hydrargyrum...

 has a lower thermal conductivity
Thermal conductivity
In physics, thermal conductivity, k, is the property of a material's ability to conduct heat. It appears primarily in Fourier's Law for heat conduction....

.

Bismuth has classically been considered to be the heaviest naturally occurring stable element, in terms of atomic mass. Recently, however, it has been found to be very slightly radioactive: its only primordial isotope bismuth-209
Bismuth-209
Bismuth-209 is the isotope of bismuth with the longest half-life. It has 83 protons and 126 neutrons, and an atomic mass of 208.9803987 u. All primordial bismuth is of this isotope...

 decays via alpha decay
Alpha decay
Alpha decay is a type of radioactive decay in which an atomic nucleus emits an alpha particle and thereby transforms into an atom with a mass number 4 less and atomic number 2 less...

 into thallium-205 with a half-life
Half-life
Half-life, abbreviated t½, is the period of time it takes for the amount of a substance undergoing decay to decrease by half. The name was originally used to describe a characteristic of unstable atoms , but it may apply to any quantity which follows a set-rate decay.The original term, dating to...

 of more than a billion
1000000000 (number)
1,000,000,000 is the natural number following 999,999,999 and preceding 1,000,000,001.In scientific notation, it is written as 109....

 times the estimated age of the universe
Age of the universe
The age of the universe is the time elapsed since the Big Bang posited by the most widely accepted scientific model of cosmology. The best current estimate of the age of the universe is 13.75 ± 0.13 billion years within the Lambda-CDM concordance model...

.

Bismuth compounds (accounting for about half the production of bismuth) are used in cosmetics
Cosmetics
Cosmetics are substances used to enhance the appearance or odor of the human body. Cosmetics include skin-care creams, lotions, powders, perfumes, lipsticks, fingernail and toe nail polish, eye and facial makeup, towelettes, permanent waves, colored contact lenses, hair colors, hair sprays and...

, pigments, and a few pharmaceuticals. Bismuth has unusually low toxicity
Toxicity
Toxicity is the degree to which a substance can damage a living or non-living organisms. Toxicity can refer to the effect on a whole organism, such as an animal, bacterium, or plant, as well as the effect on a substructure of the organism, such as a cell or an organ , such as the liver...

 for a heavy metal. As the toxicity of lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 has become more apparent in recent years, alloy uses for bismuth metal (presently about a third of bismuth production), as a replacement for lead, have become an increasing part of bismuth's commercial importance.

Characteristics


Physical characteristics


Bismuth is a brittle metal
Metal
A metal , is an element, compound, or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat. Metals are usually malleable and shiny, that is they reflect most of incident light...

 with a white, silver-pink hue, often occurring in its native form with an iridescent
Iridescence
Iridescence is generally known as the property of certain surfaces which appear to change color as the angle of view or the angle of illumination changes...

 oxide
Bismuth trioxide
Bismuth oxide is perhaps the most industrially important compound of bismuth. It is also a common starting point for bismuth chemistry. It is found naturally as the mineral bismite and sphaerobismoite , but it is usually obtained as a by-product of the smelting of copper and lead ores...

 tarnish showing many colors from yellow to blue. The spiral stair stepped structure of a bismuth crystal
Crystal
A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituent atoms, molecules, or ions are arranged in an orderly repeating pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions. The scientific study of crystals and crystal formation is known as crystallography...

 is the result of a higher growth rate around the outside edges than on the inside edges. The variations in the thickness of the oxide layer that forms on the surface of the crystal causes different wavelengths of light to interfere upon reflection, thus displaying a rainbow of colors. When combusted
Combustion
Combustion or burning is the sequence of exothermic chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant accompanied by the production of heat and conversion of chemical species. The release of heat can result in the production of light in the form of either glowing or a flame...

 with oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

, bismuth burns with a blue
Blue
Blue is a colour, the perception of which is evoked by light having a spectrum dominated by energy with a wavelength of roughly 440–490 nm. It is considered one of the additive primary colours. On the HSV Colour Wheel, the complement of blue is yellow; that is, a colour corresponding to an equal...

 flame
Flame
A flame is the visible , gaseous part of a fire. It is caused by a highly exothermic reaction taking place in a thin zone...

 and its oxide forms yellow
Yellow
Yellow is the color evoked by light that stimulates both the L and M cone cells of the retina about equally, with no significant stimulation of the S cone cells. Light with a wavelength of 570–590 nm is yellow, as is light with a suitable mixture of red and green...

 fumes
Vapor
A vapor or vapour is a substance in the gas phase at a temperature lower than its critical point....

. Its toxicity
Toxicity
Toxicity is the degree to which a substance can damage a living or non-living organisms. Toxicity can refer to the effect on a whole organism, such as an animal, bacterium, or plant, as well as the effect on a substructure of the organism, such as a cell or an organ , such as the liver...

 is much lower than that of its neighbors in the periodic table
Periodic table
The periodic table of the chemical elements is a tabular display of the 118 known chemical elements organized by selected properties of their atomic structures. Elements are presented by increasing atomic number, the number of protons in an atom's atomic nucleus...

 such as lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

, tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

, tellurium, antimony
Antimony
Antimony is a toxic chemical element with the symbol Sb and an atomic number of 51. A lustrous grey metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite...

, and polonium
Polonium
Polonium is a chemical element with the symbol Po and atomic number 84, discovered in 1898 by Marie Skłodowska-Curie and Pierre Curie. A rare and highly radioactive element, polonium is chemically similar to bismuth and tellurium, and it occurs in uranium ores. Polonium has been studied for...

.

Although ununpentium
Ununpentium
Ununpentium is the temporary name of a synthetic superheavy element in the periodic table that has the temporary symbol Uup and has the atomic number 115....

 is theoretically more diamagnetic
Diamagnetism
Diamagnetism is the property of an object which causes it to create a magnetic field in opposition to an externally applied magnetic field, thus causing a repulsive effect. Specifically, an external magnetic field alters the orbital velocity of electrons around their nuclei, thus changing the...

, no other metal
Metal
A metal , is an element, compound, or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat. Metals are usually malleable and shiny, that is they reflect most of incident light...

 is verified to be more naturally diamagnetic than bismuth. It is the most diamagnetic of naturally occurring elements. (Superdiamagnetism
Superdiamagnetism
Superdiamagnetism is a phenomenon occurring in certain materials at low temperatures, characterised by the complete absence of magnetic permeability and the exclusion of the interior magnetic field. Superdiamagnetism is a feature of superconductivity...

 is a different physical phenomenon.) Of any metal, it has the second lowest thermal conductivity
Thermal conductivity
In physics, thermal conductivity, k, is the property of a material's ability to conduct heat. It appears primarily in Fourier's Law for heat conduction....

 (after mercury
Mercury (element)
Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is also known as quicksilver or hydrargyrum...

) and the highest Hall coefficient
Hall effect
The Hall effect is the production of a voltage difference across an electrical conductor, transverse to an electric current in the conductor and a magnetic field perpendicular to the current...

. It has a high electrical resistance
Electrical resistance
The electrical resistance of an electrical element is the opposition to the passage of an electric current through that element; the inverse quantity is electrical conductance, the ease at which an electric current passes. Electrical resistance shares some conceptual parallels with the mechanical...

. When deposited in sufficiently thin layers on a substrate, bismuth is a semiconductor
Semiconductor
A semiconductor is a material with electrical conductivity due to electron flow intermediate in magnitude between that of a conductor and an insulator. This means a conductivity roughly in the range of 103 to 10−8 siemens per centimeter...

, rather than a poor metal.

Elemental bismuth is one of very few substances of which the liquid
Liquid
Liquid is one of the three classical states of matter . Like a gas, a liquid is able to flow and take the shape of a container. Some liquids resist compression, while others can be compressed. Unlike a gas, a liquid does not disperse to fill every space of a container, and maintains a fairly...

 phase is denser
Density
The mass density or density of a material is defined as its mass per unit volume. The symbol most often used for density is ρ . In some cases , density is also defined as its weight per unit volume; although, this quantity is more properly called specific weight...

 than its solid
Solid
Solid is one of the three classical states of matter . It is characterized by structural rigidity and resistance to changes of shape or volume. Unlike a liquid, a solid object does not flow to take on the shape of its container, nor does it expand to fill the entire volume available to it like a...

 phase (water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 being the best-known example). Bismuth expands 3.32% on solidification; therefore, it was long an important component of low-melting typesetting
Typesetting
Typesetting is the composition of text by means of types.Typesetting requires the prior process of designing a font and storing it in some manner...

 alloy
Alloy
An alloy is a mixture or metallic solid solution composed of two or more elements. Complete solid solution alloys give single solid phase microstructure, while partial solutions give two or more phases that may or may not be homogeneous in distribution, depending on thermal history...

s, where it compensated for the contraction of the other alloying components.

Though virtually unseen in nature, high-purity bismuth can form distinctive colorful hopper crystal
Hopper crystal
thumb|300px|right|Synthetic bismuth crystalA hopper crystal is a form of crystal, defined by its "hoppered" shape.The edges of hoppered crystals are fully developed, but the interior spaces are not filled in. This results in what appears to be a hollowed out step lattice formation, as if someone...

s. Bismuth is relatively nontoxic and has a low melting point just above 271 °C, so crystals may be grown using a household stove, although the resulting crystals will tend to be lower quality than lab-grown crystals.

Chemical characteristics


Bismuth is stable to both dry and moist air at ordinary temperatures. When red-hot it reacts with water to make bismuth(III) oxide.
2 Bi + 3 H2O → Bi2O3 + 3 H2


It reacts with large amounts of fluorine
Fluorine
Fluorine is the chemical element with atomic number 9, represented by the symbol F. It is the lightest element of the halogen column of the periodic table and has a single stable isotope, fluorine-19. At standard pressure and temperature, fluorine is a pale yellow gas composed of diatomic...

 to make bismuth(V) fluoride.
2 Bi + 5 F2 → 2 BiF5


It reacts with small amounts of fluorine to make bismuth(III) fluoride.
2 Bi + 3 F2 → 2 BiF3


It also reacts with the other halogen
Halogen
The halogens or halogen elements are a series of nonmetal elements from Group 17 IUPAC Style of the periodic table, comprising fluorine , chlorine , bromine , iodine , and astatine...

s to make bismuth(III) halides.
2 Bi + 3 Cl2 → 2 BiCl3

2 Bi + 3 Br2 → 2 BiBr3

2 Bi + 3 I2 → 2 BiI3


It dissolves in concentrated sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid is a strong mineral acid with the molecular formula . Its historical name is oil of vitriol. Pure sulfuric acid is a highly corrosive, colorless, viscous liquid. The salts of sulfuric acid are called sulfates...

 to make bismuth(III) sulfate and sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide is the chemical compound with the formula . It is released by volcanoes and in various industrial processes. Since coal and petroleum often contain sulfur compounds, their combustion generates sulfur dioxide unless the sulfur compounds are removed before burning the fuel...

.
6 H2SO4 + 2 Bi → 6 H2O + Bi2(SO4)3 + 3 SO2


It reacts with nitric acid
Nitric acid
Nitric acid , also known as aqua fortis and spirit of nitre, is a highly corrosive and toxic strong acid.Colorless when pure, older samples tend to acquire a yellow cast due to the accumulation of oxides of nitrogen. If the solution contains more than 86% nitric acid, it is referred to as fuming...

 to make bismuth(III) nitrate.
Bi + 6 HNO3 → 3 H2O + 3 NO2 + Bi(NO3)3


It also dissolves in hydrochloric acid
Hydrochloric acid
Hydrochloric acid is a solution of hydrogen chloride in water, that is a highly corrosive, strong mineral acid with many industrial uses. It is found naturally in gastric acid....

 but only if there is oxygen present.
4 Bi + 3 O2 + 12 HCl → 4 BiCl3 + 6 H2O

Isotopes


{{main|Isotopes of bismuth}}
The only primordial isotope
Isotope
Isotopes are variants of atoms of a particular chemical element, which have differing numbers of neutrons. Atoms of a particular element by definition must contain the same number of protons but may have a distinct number of neutrons which differs from atom to atom, without changing the designation...

 of bismuth, bismuth-209
Bismuth-209
Bismuth-209 is the isotope of bismuth with the longest half-life. It has 83 protons and 126 neutrons, and an atomic mass of 208.9803987 u. All primordial bismuth is of this isotope...

, was traditionally regarded as the heaviest stable isotope, but it had long been suspected to be unstable on theoretical grounds. This was finally demonstrated in 2003 when researchers at the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale in Orsay
Orsay
Orsay is a commune in the Essonne department in Île-de-France in northern France. It is located in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France, from the center of Paris.Inhabitants of Orsay are known as Orcéens.-History:...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, measured the alpha emission
Alpha decay
Alpha decay is a type of radioactive decay in which an atomic nucleus emits an alpha particle and thereby transforms into an atom with a mass number 4 less and atomic number 2 less...

 half-life
Half-life
Half-life, abbreviated t½, is the period of time it takes for the amount of a substance undergoing decay to decrease by half. The name was originally used to describe a characteristic of unstable atoms , but it may apply to any quantity which follows a set-rate decay.The original term, dating to...

 of {{SimpleNuclide2|Bismuth|209|link=yes}} to be {{val, over a billion
1000000000 (number)
1,000,000,000 is the natural number following 999,999,999 and preceding 1,000,000,001.In scientific notation, it is written as 109....

 times longer than the current estimated age of the universe
Age of the universe
The age of the universe is the time elapsed since the Big Bang posited by the most widely accepted scientific model of cosmology. The best current estimate of the age of the universe is 13.75 ± 0.13 billion years within the Lambda-CDM concordance model...

. Owing to its extraordinarily long half-life, for all presently known medical and industrial applications bismuth can be treated as if it is stable and non-radioactive. The radioactivity is of academic interest because bismuth is one of few elements whose radioactivity was suspected, and indeed theoretically predicted, before being detected in the laboratory. Bismuth has the longest known alpha decay half-life, although tellurium-128
Isotopes of tellurium
There are 38 known isotopes and 17 nuclear isomers of tellurium with atomic masses that range from 105 to 142. These are listed in the table below.Naturally occurring tellurium on Earth consists of eight isotopes...

 has a double beta decay half-life of over {{val|2.2|e=24|u=years}}.

Several isotopes of bismuth with short half-lives occur within the radioactive disintegration chains of actinium
Actinium
Actinium is a radioactive chemical element with the symbol Ac and atomic number 89, which was discovered in 1899. It was the first non-primordial radioactive element to be isolated. Polonium, radium and radon were observed before actinium, but they were not isolated until 1902...

, radium
Radium
Radium is a chemical element with atomic number 88, represented by the symbol Ra. Radium is an almost pure-white alkaline earth metal, but it readily oxidizes on exposure to air, becoming black in color. All isotopes of radium are highly radioactive, with the most stable isotope being radium-226,...

, and thorium
Thorium
Thorium is a natural radioactive chemical element with the symbol Th and atomic number 90. It was discovered in 1828 and named after Thor, the Norse god of thunder....

, and more have been synthesized experimentally.

Commercially the radioactive isotope bismuth-213 can be produced by bombarding radium
Radium
Radium is a chemical element with atomic number 88, represented by the symbol Ra. Radium is an almost pure-white alkaline earth metal, but it readily oxidizes on exposure to air, becoming black in color. All isotopes of radium are highly radioactive, with the most stable isotope being radium-226,...

 with bremsstrahlung
Bremsstrahlung
Bremsstrahlung is electromagnetic radiation produced by the deceleration of a charged particle when deflected by another charged particle, typically an electron by an atomic nucleus. The moving particle loses kinetic energy, which is converted into a photon because energy is conserved. The term is...

 photons from a linear particle accelerator
Linear particle accelerator
A linear particle accelerator is a type of particle accelerator that greatly increases the velocity of charged subatomic particles or ions by subjecting the charged particles to a series of oscillating electric potentials along a linear beamline; this method of particle acceleration was invented...

. In 1997 an antibody conjugate with Bi-213, which has a 45 minute half-life, and decays with the emission of an alpha-particle, was used to treat patients with leukemia. This isotope has also been tried in cancer treatment, e.g. in the Targeted Alpha Therapy (TAT) program. Bismuth-213 is also found on the decay chain of Uranium-233
Uranium-233
Uranium-233 is a fissile isotope of uranium, bred from Thorium as part of the thorium fuel cycle. It has been used in a few nuclear reactors and has been proposed for much wider use as a nuclear fuel. It has a half-life of 160,000 years....

.

Occurrence


In the Earth's crust, bismuth is about twice as abundant as gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

.{{citation needed|date=September 2011}} It is not usually economical to mine it as a primary product. Rather, it is usually produced as a byproduct of the processing of other metal ores, especially lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

, tungsten
Tungsten
Tungsten , also known as wolfram , is a chemical element with the chemical symbol W and atomic number 74.A hard, rare metal under standard conditions when uncombined, tungsten is found naturally on Earth only in chemical compounds. It was identified as a new element in 1781, and first isolated as...

 (China), tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

, copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

, and also silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 (indirectly) or other metallic elements.

Production

New York prices (2007)
Time Price (USD/lb.)
December 2000 3.85–4.15
November 2002 2.70–3.10
December 2003 2.60–2.90
June 2004 3.65–4.00
September 2005 4.20–4.60
September 2006 4.50–4.75
November 2006 6.00–6.50
December 2006 7.30–7.80
March 2007 9.25–9.75
April 2007 10.50–11.00
June 2007 18.00–19.00
November 2007 13.50–15.00



The most important ore
Ore
An ore is a type of rock that contains minerals with important elements including metals. The ores are extracted through mining; these are then refined to extract the valuable element....

s of bismuth are bismuthinite
Bismuthinite
Bismuthinite is a mineral consisting of bismuth sulfide . It is an important ore for bismuth. The crystals are steel-grey to off-white with a metallic luster...

 and bismite
Bismite
Bismite is a bismuth oxide mineral, bismuth trioxide or Bi2O3. It is a monoclinic mineral, but the typical form of occurrence is massive and clay-like with no macroscopic crystals. The color varies from green to yellow. It has a Mohs hardness of 4 to 5 and a specific gravity of 8.5 to 9.5, quite...

. In 2005, China was the top producer of bismuth with at least 40% of the world share followed by Mexico and Peru, reports the British Geological Survey
British Geological Survey
The British Geological Survey is a partly publicly funded body which aims to advance geoscientific knowledge of the United Kingdom landmass and its continental shelf by means of systematic surveying, monitoring and research. The BGS headquarters are in Keyworth, Nottinghamshire, but other centres...

. Native bismuth is known from Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

, and China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

.

According to the United States Geological Survey
United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology,...

, world 2009 mine production of bismuth was 7,300 tonnes, with the major contributions from China (4,500 tonnes), Mexico (1,200 tonnes) and Peru (960 tonnes). World 2008 bismuth refinery production was 15,000 tonnes, of which China produced 78%, Mexico 8% and Belgium 5%.

The difference between world bismuth mine production and refinery production reflects bismuth's status as a byproduct metal. Bismuth travels in crude lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 bullion (which can contain up to 10% bismuth) through several stages of refining, until it is removed by the Kroll-Betterton process or the Betts process. The Kroll-Betterton process uses a pyrometallurgical separation from molten lead of calcium-magnesium-bismuth drosses containing associated metals (silver, gold, zinc, some lead, copper, tellurium, and arsenic), which are removed by various fluxes and treatments to give high-purity bismuth metal (over 99% Bi). The Betts process takes cast anodes of lead bullion and electrolyzes them in a lead fluorosilicate-hydrofluorosilicic acid electrolyte to yield a pure lead cathode and an anode slime containing bismuth. Bismuth will behave similarly with another of its major metals, copper. Thus world bismuth production from refineries is a more complete and reliable statistic.

According to the Bismuth Advocate News, the price for bismuth metal from year-end 2000 to September 2005 ranged from $2.60 to $4.15 per pound, but after this period the price started rising rapidly as global bismuth demand as a lead replacement and other uses grew rapidly. New mines in Canada and Vietnam may relieve the shortages, but prices are likely to remain above their previous level for the foreseeable future. The Customer-Input price for bismuth is more oriented to the ultimate consumer; it started at US$39.40 per kilogram ($17.90 per pound) in January 2008 and reached US$35.55 per kg (US$16.15 per lb.) in September 2008.

Recycling


Whereas bismuth is most available today as a byproduct, its sustainability
Sustainability
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

 is more dependent on recycling. Bismuth is mostly a byproduct of lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 smelting, along with silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

, zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

, antimony
Antimony
Antimony is a toxic chemical element with the symbol Sb and an atomic number of 51. A lustrous grey metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite...

, and other metals, and also of tungsten
Tungsten
Tungsten , also known as wolfram , is a chemical element with the chemical symbol W and atomic number 74.A hard, rare metal under standard conditions when uncombined, tungsten is found naturally on Earth only in chemical compounds. It was identified as a new element in 1781, and first isolated as...

 production, along with molybdenum
Molybdenum
Molybdenum , is a Group 6 chemical element with the symbol Mo and atomic number 42. The name is from Neo-Latin Molybdaenum, from Ancient Greek , meaning lead, itself proposed as a loanword from Anatolian Luvian and Lydian languages, since its ores were confused with lead ores...

 and tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

, and also of copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 production. Recycling bismuth is difficult in many of its end uses, primarily because of scattering.

Probably the easiest to recycle would be bismuth-containing fusible alloys in the form of larger objects, then larger soldered objects. Half of the world's solder consumption is in electronics
Electronics
Electronics is the branch of science, engineering and technology that deals with electrical circuits involving active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies...

 (i.e., circuit boards). As the soldered objects get smaller or contain little solder or little bismuth, the recovery gets progressively more difficult and less economic, although solder with a higher silver content will be more worthwhile recovering. Next in recycling feasibility would be sizeable catalysts with a fair bismuth content, perhaps as bismuth phosphomolybdate, and then bismuth used in galvanizing and as a free-machining metallurgical additive.

Bismuth in uses where it is dispersed most widely include stomach medicines (bismuth subsalicylate
Bismuth subsalicylate
Bismuth subsalicylate, with a nominal chemical formula of C7H5BiO4, It is a colloidal substance obtained by hydrolysis of bismuth salicylate . The actual structure is unknown and the formulation is only approximate. Recent evidence indicates that it is composed of a bismuth oxide core structure...

), paints (bismuth vanadate) on a dry surface, pearlescent cosmetics (bismuth oxychloride
Bismuth oxychloride
Bismuth oxychloride is a chemical compound of bismuth, oxygen, and chlorine, with the formula BiOCl. It exists in nature as the mineral bismoclite which is part of the matlockite mineral group.-Structure:...

), and bismuth-containing bullets that have been fired. The bismuth scattered in these uses is unrecoverable with present technology.

Bismuth can also be available sustainably from greater efficiency of use or substitution, most likely stimulated by a rising price.{{cn|date=October 2011}}
It would be more difficult to find an alternative to bismuth oxychloride in cosmetics to give the pearlescent effect.{{cn|date=October 2011}}
However, there are many alloying formulas for solders and therefore many alternatives.

The most important sustainability fact about bismuth is its byproduct status, which can either improve sustainability (i.e., vanadium
Vanadium
Vanadium is a chemical element with the symbol V and atomic number 23. It is a hard, silvery gray, ductile and malleable transition metal. The formation of an oxide layer stabilizes the metal against oxidation. The element is found only in chemically combined form in nature...

 or manganese nodules) or, for bismuth from lead ore, constrain it; bismuth is constrained. The extent that the constraint on bismuth can be ameliorated or not is going to be tested by the future of the lead storage battery, since 90% of the world market for lead is in storage batteries for gasoline or diesel-powered motor vehicles.

The life-cycle assessment of bismuth will focus on solders, one of the major uses of bismuth, and the one with the most complete information. The average primary energy use for solders is around 200 MJ per kg, with the high-bismuth solder (58% Bi) only 20% of that value, and three low-bismuth solders (2% to 5% Bi) running very close to the average. The global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 potential averaged 10 to 14 kg carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

, with the high-bismuth solder about two-thirds of that and the low-bismuth solders about average. The acidification potential for the solders is around 0.9 to 1.1 kg sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide is the chemical compound with the formula . It is released by volcanoes and in various industrial processes. Since coal and petroleum often contain sulfur compounds, their combustion generates sulfur dioxide unless the sulfur compounds are removed before burning the fuel...

 equivalent, with the high-bismuth solder and one low-bismuth solder only one-tenth of the average and the other low-bismuth solders about average. There is very little life-cycle information on other bismuth alloys or compounds.

Chemical compounds


{{category see also|Bismuth compounds}}

Bismuth forms trivalent and pentavalent compounds. The trivalent compounds are more common. Many of its chemical properties are similar to those of arsenic
Arsenic
Arsenic is a chemical element with the symbol As, atomic number 33 and relative atomic mass 74.92. Arsenic occurs in many minerals, usually in conjunction with sulfur and metals, and also as a pure elemental crystal. It was first documented by Albertus Magnus in 1250.Arsenic is a metalloid...

 and antimony
Antimony
Antimony is a toxic chemical element with the symbol Sb and an atomic number of 51. A lustrous grey metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite...

, although they are less toxic than derivatives of those lighter elements.

Oxides and sulfides
At elevated temperatures, the vapours of the metal combine rapidly with oxygen, forming the yellow trioxide, . On reaction with base, this oxide forms two series of oxyanion
Oxyanion
An oxyanion or oxoanion is a chemical compound with the generic formula AxOyz− . Oxoanions are formed by a large majority of the chemical elements. The formulae of simple oxoanions are determined by the octet rule...

s: BiO{{su|b=2|p=−}}, which is polymeric and forms linear chains, and BiO{{su|b=3|p=3−}}. The anion in is actually a cubic octameric anion, {{su|b=24|p=24−}}, whereas the anion in is tetrameric.

The dark red bismuth(V) oxide, , is unstable, liberating
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

 gas upon heating.

Bismuth sulfide,
Bismuth(III) sulfide
Bismuth sulfide is a chemical compound of bismuth and sulfur. It occurs in nature as the mineral bismuthinite.-Synthesis:Bismuth sulfide can be prepared by reacting a bismuth salt with hydrogen sulfide:...

, occurs naturally in bismuth ores. It is also produced by the combination of molten bismuth and sulfur.

Bismuthine and bismuthide
Bismuthide
The bismuthide ion is Bi3−.Bismuthides are compounds of bismuth with more electropositive elements. They are intermetallic compounds, containing partially metallic and partially ionic bonds....

s
Unlike earlier members of group 15 elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and arsenic, and similar to the previous group 15 element antimony
Antimony
Antimony is a toxic chemical element with the symbol Sb and an atomic number of 51. A lustrous grey metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite...

, bismuth does not form a stable hydride
Hydride
In chemistry, a hydride is the anion of hydrogen, H−, or, more commonly, a compound in which one or more hydrogen centres have nucleophilic, reducing, or basic properties. In compounds that are regarded as hydrides, hydrogen is bonded to a more electropositive element or group...

. Bismuth hydride, bismuthine
Bismuthine
Bismuthine is the chemical compound with the formula BiH3. As the heaviest analogue of ammonia, BiH3 is unstable, decomposing to bismuth metal well below 0 °C...

 , is an endothermic
Endothermic
In thermodynamics, the word endothermic describes a process or reaction in which the system absorbs energy from the surroundings in the form of heat. Its etymology stems from the prefix endo- and the Greek word thermasi,...

 compound that spontaneously decomposes at room temperature. It is stable only below −60°C. Bismuthides are intermetallic compounds between bismuth and other metals.

Halides
The halide
Halide
A halide is a binary compound, of which one part is a halogen atom and the other part is an element or radical that is less electronegative than the halogen, to make a fluoride, chloride, bromide, iodide, or astatide compound. Many salts are halides...

s of bismuth in low oxidation states have been shown to adopt unusual structures. What was originally thought to be bismuth(I) chloride, BiCl, turns out to be a complex compound consisting of Bi{{su|b=9|p=5+}} cations and BiCl{{su|b=5|p=2−}} and Bi{{su|b=2}}Cl{{su|b=8|p=2−}} anions. The Bi{{su|b=9|p=5+}} cation has a distorted tricapped trigonal prismic molecular geometry, and is also found in , which is prepared by reducing a mixture of hafnium(IV) chloride
Hafnium(IV) chloride
Hafnium chloride is the inorganic compound with the formula HfCl4. This colourless solid is the precursor to most hafnium organometallic compounds. It functions as a Lewis acid and catalyst for certain alkylation and isomerism reactions...

 and bismuth chloride
Bismuth chloride
Bismuth chloride is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula BiCl3. It is a common source of the Bi3+ ion. In the gas phase and in the crystal, the species adopts a pyramidal structure, in accord with VSEPR theory.-Preparation:...

 with elemental bismuth, having the structure .{{rp|50}} Other polyatomic bismuth cations are also known, such as Bi{{su|b=8|p=2+}}, found in . Bismuth also forms a low-valence bromide with the same structure as "BiCl". There is a true monoiodide, BiI, which contains chains of units. BiI decomposes upon heating to the triiodide,
Bismuth(III) iodide
Bismuth iodide is the inorganic compound with the formula BiI3. This gray-black solid is the product of the reaction of bismuth and iodide, which once was of interest in qualitative inorganic analysis....

, and elemental bismuth. A monobromide of the same structure also exists.

In oxidation state +3, bismuth forms trihalides with all of the halogens: , , , and . All of these except are hydrolysed by water to form the bismuthyl cation, BiO{{su|p=+}}, a commonly encountered bismuth oxycation. Bismuth(III) chloride reacts with hydrogen chloride
Hydrogen chloride
The compound hydrogen chloride has the formula HCl. At room temperature, it is a colorless gas, which forms white fumes of hydrochloric acid upon contact with atmospheric humidity. Hydrogen chloride gas and hydrochloric acid are important in technology and industry...

 in ether
Ether
Ethers are a class of organic compounds that contain an ether group — an oxygen atom connected to two alkyl or aryl groups — of general formula R–O–R'. A typical example is the solvent and anesthetic diethyl ether, commonly referred to simply as "ether"...

 solution to produce the acid .

The oxidation state +5 is less frequently encountered. One such compound is
Bismuth pentafluoride
Bismuth pentafluoride, BiF5, is chemical compound of bismuth and fluorine.-Structure:BiF5 is polymeric and consists of linear chains of trans-bridged corner sharing BiF6 octahedra...

, a powerful oxidising and fluorinating agent. It is also a strong fluoride acceptor, reacting with xenon tetrafluoride
Xenon tetrafluoride
Xenon tetrafluoride is a chemical compound with chemical formula . It was the first discovered binary compound of a noble gas. It is produced by the chemical reaction of xenon with fluorine, , according to the chemical equation:...

 to form the cation:
+ →


Aqueous species

In aqueous solution, the Bi{{su|p=3+}} ion exists in various states of hydration, depending on the pH
PH
In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Pure water is said to be neutral, with a pH close to 7.0 at . Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline...

:
pH range Species
<3 {{su|b=6|p=3+}}
0-4 {{su|p=2+}}
1-5 {{su|p=+}}
5-14
>11 {{su|p=−}}

These mononuclear species are in equilibrium. Polynuclear species also exist, the most important of which is BiO{{su|p=+}}, which exists in hexameric form as the octahedral complex []{{su|p=6+}} (or 6 [BiO{{su|p=+}}]·2 ).

History


The name Bismuth is from ca. 1660s and is of uncertain etymology. It is one of the first 10 metals to have been discovered. Bismuth appears in the 1660s, from obsolete Ger. Bismuth, Wismut, Wissmuth (early 17c.); perhaps related to O.H.G. hwiz ("white"). The New Latin
New Latin
The term New Latin, or Neo-Latin, is used to describe the Latin language used in original works created between c. 1500 and c. 1900. Among other uses, Latin during this period was employed in scholarly and scientific publications...

 bisemutum is from German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 Wismuth, perhaps from weiße Masse, "white mass." The element was confused in early times with tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

 and lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 because of its resemblance to those elements. Bismuth has been known since ancient times, so no one person is credited with its discovery. Agricola, in De Natura Fossilium
De Natura Fossilium
De Natura Fossilium is a scientific text written by George Bauer also known as Georgius Agricola, first published in 1546. The book represents the first scientific attempt to categorize minerals, rocks and sediments since the publication of Pliny's Natural History...

 states that bismuth is a distinct metal in a family of metals including tin and lead in 1546 based on observation of the metals and their physical properties. Claude François Geoffroy
Claude François Geoffroy
Claude François Geoffroy was a French chemist. He discovered the chemical element bismuth in 1753. Before this time, bismuth-containing minerals were frequently identified as either lead or tin ores....

 demonstrated in 1753 that this metal is distinct from lead and tin.

"Artificial bismuth" was commonly used in place of the actual metal. It was made by hammering tin into thin plates, and cementing them by a mixture of white tartar, saltpeter
Potassium nitrate
Potassium nitrate is a chemical compound with the formula KNO3. It is an ionic salt of potassium ions K+ and nitrate ions NO3−.It occurs as a mineral niter and is a natural solid source of nitrogen. Its common names include saltpetre , from medieval Latin sal petræ: "stone salt" or possibly "Salt...

, and arsenic
Arsenic
Arsenic is a chemical element with the symbol As, atomic number 33 and relative atomic mass 74.92. Arsenic occurs in many minerals, usually in conjunction with sulfur and metals, and also as a pure elemental crystal. It was first documented by Albertus Magnus in 1250.Arsenic is a metalloid...

, stratified in a crucible
Crucible
A crucible is a container used for metal, glass, and pigment production as well as a number of modern laboratory processes, which can withstand temperatures high enough to melt or otherwise alter its contents...

 over an open fire.{{Citation needed|date=May 2009}}

Bismuth was also known to the Incas and used (along with the usual copper and tin) in a special bronze alloy
Bismuth bronze
Bismuth bronze is a bronze alloy that is very corrosion-resistant. This property makes it suitable for use in environments such as the ocean. Bismuth bronze's composition varies slightly, depending on the purpose for which the it is to be used, but in all cases, the proportion of bismuth to bronze...

 for knives.

Applications


Bismuth has few commercial applications, none of which are large. Taking the U.S. as an example, 1,090 tonnes of bismuth were consumed in 2008, of which 55% were chemicals (including pharmaceuticals, pigments, and cosmetics), 34% were metallurgical additives for casting and galvanizing, 7% were bismuth alloys, solders and ammunition, and the balance went for research and other uses.

In the early 1990s, researchers began to evaluate bismuth as a nontoxic replacement for lead in various applications.

Health and cosmetics


Bismuth is an ingredient in some pharmaceuticals, although the use of some of these substances is declining. Bismuth subsalicylate
Bismuth subsalicylate
Bismuth subsalicylate, with a nominal chemical formula of C7H5BiO4, It is a colloidal substance obtained by hydrolysis of bismuth salicylate . The actual structure is unknown and the formulation is only approximate. Recent evidence indicates that it is composed of a bismuth oxide core structure...

 is used as an antidiarrheal
Diarrhea
Diarrhea , also spelled diarrhoea, is the condition of having three or more loose or liquid bowel movements per day. It is a common cause of death in developing countries and the second most common cause of infant deaths worldwide. The loss of fluids through diarrhea can cause dehydration and...

; it is the active ingredient
Active ingredient
An active ingredient is the substance of a pharmaceutical drug or a pharmaceutical ingredient and bulk active in medicine; in pesticide formulations active substance may be used. Some medications and pesticide products may contain more than one active ingredient...

 in such "Pink Bismuth" preparations as Pepto-Bismol
Pepto-Bismol
Pepto-Bismol is an over-the-counter drug currently produced by the Procter and Gamble company in the United States of America and in Canada to treat minor digestive system upset. Its active ingredient is bismuth subsalicylate...

, as well as the 2004 reformulation of Kaopectate
Kaopectate
Kaopectate, known medically as bismuth subsalicylate, is an orally taken medication from Chattem, Inc. for the treatment of mild diarrhea. It is also sometimes used to treat indigestion, nausea and stomach ulcers...

. It is also used to treat some other gastro-intestinal diseases. The mechanism of action of this substance is still not well documented, although an oligodynamic effect
Oligodynamic effect
The oligodynamic effect was discovered in 1893 by the Swiss Karl Wilhelm von Nägeli as a toxic effect of metal ions on living cells, algae, molds, spores, fungi, viruses, prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms, even in relatively low concentrations...

 may be involved in at least some cases. Bibrocathol
Bibrocathol
Bibrocathol is the substance 4,5,6,7-Tetrabrom-1,3,2-benzodioxabismol-2-ol. It contains bismuth and is used to treat eye infections and control swelling....

 is an organic bismuth-containing compound used to treat eye infections. Bismuth subgallate
Bismuth subgallate
Bismuth subgallate, with a chemical formula C7H5BiO6, is the active ingredient in Devrom , an over-the-counter FDA-approved medicine commonly used to treat malodor by deodorizing flatulence and stool. Also, it has been used to treat Helicobacter pylori infection and is used in wound therapy...

, the active ingredient
Active ingredient
An active ingredient is the substance of a pharmaceutical drug or a pharmaceutical ingredient and bulk active in medicine; in pesticide formulations active substance may be used. Some medications and pesticide products may contain more than one active ingredient...

 in Devrom, is used as an internal deodorant to treat malodor from flatulence
Flatulence
Flatulence is the expulsion through the rectum of a mixture of gases that are byproducts of the digestion process of mammals and other animals. The medical term for the mixture of gases is flatus, informally known as a fart, or simply gas...

 ("gas") and feces
Feces
Feces, faeces, or fæces is a waste product from an animal's digestive tract expelled through the anus or cloaca during defecation.-Etymology:...

. Bismuth compounds were formerly used to treat syphilis, and today bismuth subsalicylate and bismuth subcitrate are used to treat peptic ulcer
Peptic ulcer
A peptic ulcer, also known as PUD or peptic ulcer disease, is the most common ulcer of an area of the gastrointestinal tract that is usually acidic and thus extremely painful. It is defined as mucosal erosions equal to or greater than 0.5 cm...

s. Bismuth subnitrate and bismuth subcarbonate
Bismuth subcarbonate
Bismuth subcarbonate Bi2O2, sometimes written 2CO3 is a chemical compound of bismuth containing both oxide and carbonate anions. Bismuth is in the +3 oxidation state. Bismuth subcarbonate occurs naturally as the mineral bismutite. Its structure consists of Bi-O layers and CO3 layers and is related...

 are also used in medicines.

Bismuth oxychloride is sometimes used in cosmetics
Cosmetics
Cosmetics are substances used to enhance the appearance or odor of the human body. Cosmetics include skin-care creams, lotions, powders, perfumes, lipsticks, fingernail and toe nail polish, eye and facial makeup, towelettes, permanent waves, colored contact lenses, hair colors, hair sprays and...

.

Metal and alloys

  • Many bismuth alloy
    Alloy
    An alloy is a mixture or metallic solid solution composed of two or more elements. Complete solid solution alloys give single solid phase microstructure, while partial solutions give two or more phases that may or may not be homogeneous in distribution, depending on thermal history...

    s have low melting point
    Melting point
    The melting point of a solid is the temperature at which it changes state from solid to liquid. At the melting point the solid and liquid phase exist in equilibrium. The melting point of a substance depends on pressure and is usually specified at standard atmospheric pressure...

    s and are found in specialty applications such as solder
    Solder
    Solder is a fusible metal alloy used to join together metal workpieces and having a melting point below that of the workpiece.Soft solder is what is most often thought of when solder or soldering are mentioned and it typically has a melting range of . It is commonly used in electronics and...

    s. Fire detection and suppression system safety devices widely use Bi-In-Cd–In–Sn–Pb which melts at 47 °C.
  • Bismuth is also used as an alloying agent in production of malleable irons and as a thermocouple
    Thermocouple
    A thermocouple is a device consisting of two different conductors that produce a voltage proportional to a temperature difference between either end of the pair of conductors. Thermocouples are a widely used type of temperature sensor for measurement and control and can also be used to convert a...

     material.
  • Superconductors. Bismuth is included in BSCCO (Bismuth Strontium Calcium Copper Oxide) which is a group of similar superconducting compounds discovered in 1988 among which is the highest temperature superconductor yet known with a transition temperature of 110K.
  • The "RoHS" initiative for reduction of lead has broadened bismuth's use in electronics as a component of low-melting point solders, as a replacement for traditional tin-lead solders. its low toxicity will be especially important for solders to be used in food processing equipment and copper water pipes, although it can also be used in other applications including those in the automobile industry, in the EU for example.
  • Bismuth has been evaluated as a replacement for lead in free-machining brass
    Brass
    Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.In comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin...

    es for plumbing
    Plumbing
    Plumbing is the system of pipes and drains installed in a building for the distribution of potable drinking water and the removal of waterborne wastes, and the skilled trade of working with pipes, tubing and plumbing fixtures in such systems. A plumber is someone who installs or repairs piping...

     applications, although it doesn't equal leaded steels' performance
  • It has been used to make free-machining steels for precision machining properties
  • The metal has been used to replace lead as a dense material for fishing
    Fishing
    Fishing is the activity of trying to catch wild fish. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping....

     sinkers
  • It has been used as a replacement for lead in shot
    Shotgun
    A shotgun is a firearm that is usually designed to be fired from the shoulder, which uses the energy of a fixed shell to fire a number of small spherical pellets called shot, or a solid projectile called a slug...

     and bullet
    Bullet
    A bullet is a projectile propelled by a firearm, sling, or air gun. Bullets do not normally contain explosives, but damage the intended target by impact and penetration...

    s. The Netherlands
    Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

    , the UK
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

     and U.S.
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    , and many other countries now prohibit the use of lead shot for the hunting of wetland birds, as many birds are prone to lead poisoning
    Lead poisoning
    Lead poisoning is a medical condition caused by increased levels of the heavy metal lead in the body. Lead interferes with a variety of body processes and is toxic to many organs and tissues including the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, and reproductive and nervous systems...

     owing to mistaken ingestion of lead (instead of small stones and grit) to aid digestion, or even prohibit the use of lead for all hunting, such as in the Netherlands
    Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

    . Bismuth-tin alloy shot is one alternative that provides similar ballistic performance to lead. (Another less expensive but also more poorly performing alternative is "steel" shot, which is actually soft iron.) The lack of malleability does, however, make bismuth unsuitable for use in expanding hunting bullets.
  • Fabrique Nationale de Herstal
    Fabrique Nationale de Herstal
    Fabrique Nationale d'Herstal — self identified as FN Herstal and often referred to as Fabrique Nationale or simply FN — is a firearms manufacturer located in Herstal, Belgium....

     uses bismuth in the projectiles for its FN 303
    FN 303
    The FN 303 is a semi-automatic non-lethal riot gun designed and manufactured by Fabrique Nationale de Herstal. The FN 303's projectiles have been specifically designed to break up on impact, reducing risks of penetrating injuries...

     less-lethal riot gun
    Riot gun
    A riot gun or less-lethal launcher is a type of firearm that is used to fire "non-lethal" ammunition for the purpose of suppressing riots. Less-lethal launchers may be special purpose firearms designed for riot control use, or standard firearms, usually shotguns and grenade launchers, adapted to...

    .

Other uses as compounds

  • Bismuth subnitrate is a component of glaze
    Ceramic glaze
    Glaze is a layer or coating of a vitreous substance which has been fired to fuse to a ceramic object to color, decorate, strengthen or waterproof it.-Use:...

    s that produces an iridescence
    Iridescence
    Iridescence is generally known as the property of certain surfaces which appear to change color as the angle of view or the angle of illumination changes...

    .
  • Bismuth telluride
    Bismuth telluride
    Bismuth telluride is a gray powder that is a compound of bismuth and tellurium also known as bismuth telluride. It is a semiconductor which, when alloyed with antimony or selenium is an efficient thermoelectric material for refrigeration or portable power generation...

     (a semiconductor) is an excellent thermoelectric
    Thermoelectric effect
    The thermoelectric effect is the direct conversion of temperature differences to electric voltage and vice-versa. A thermoelectric device creates a voltage when there is a different temperature on each side. Conversely, when a voltage is applied to it, it creates a temperature difference...

     material. Bi2Te3 diodes are used in mobile refrigerators and CPU coolers. Also used as detectors in Infra red spectrophotometers.
  • Bismuth oxide when it exists in delta form at room temperature, is a solid electrolyte for oxygen. This form normally only exists above and breaks down below a high temperature threshold, but can be electrodeposited well below this temperature in a highly alkaline solution.
  • Bismuth vanadate is an opaque yellow pigment in artists' oil and acrylic paint. This pigment is generally considered to be a non-toxic lightfast substitute for lemon yellow pigments such as the cadmium sulfides and the lead/strontium/barium chromates. Unlike lead chromate+lead sulfate lemon, bismuth vanadate does not readily blacken with UV exposure.
  • A catalyst for making acrylic fibers
  • Ingredient in lubricating
    Lubrication
    Lubrication is the process, or technique employed to reduce wear of one or both surfaces in close proximity, and moving relative to each another, by interposing a substance called lubricant between the surfaces to carry or to help carry the load between the opposing surfaces. The interposed...

     greases
    Grease (lubricant)
    The term grease is used to describe semisolid lubricants. Although the word grease is also used to describe rendered fat of animals, in the context of lubrication, grease typically applies to a material consisting of a soap emulsified with mineral or vegetable oil...

  • In crackling microstars (dragon's eggs
    Dragon's eggs
    Dragon's eggs are fireworks pyrotechnic stars which first burn for a period for a visual effect then explode with a loud report. Manufacture of this effect became controversial because of the heavy metals once used, particularly lead tetroxide...

    ) in pyrotechnics
    Pyrotechnics
    Pyrotechnics is the science of using materials capable of undergoing self-contained and self-sustained exothermic chemical reactions for the production of heat, light, gas, smoke and/or sound...

    , as the oxide, subcarbonate
    Bismuth subcarbonate
    Bismuth subcarbonate Bi2O2, sometimes written 2CO3 is a chemical compound of bismuth containing both oxide and carbonate anions. Bismuth is in the +3 oxidation state. Bismuth subcarbonate occurs naturally as the mineral bismutite. Its structure consists of Bi-O layers and CO3 layers and is related...

    , or subnitrate

Toxicology and ecotoxicology


{{Expand section|date=January 2008}}
Scientific literature concurs with the idea that bismuth and its compounds are less toxic than lead or its other periodic table neighbours (antimony
Antimony
Antimony is a toxic chemical element with the symbol Sb and an atomic number of 51. A lustrous grey metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite...

, polonium
Polonium
Polonium is a chemical element with the symbol Po and atomic number 84, discovered in 1898 by Marie Skłodowska-Curie and Pierre Curie. A rare and highly radioactive element, polonium is chemically similar to bismuth and tellurium, and it occurs in uranium ores. Polonium has been studied for...

) and that it is not bioaccumulative. Its biological half-life for whole-body retention is 5 days but it can remain in the kidney for years in patients treated with bismuth compounds. In the industry, it is considered as one of the least toxic heavy metals.

Bismuth poisoning exists and mostly affects the kidney and liver, and bladder. Skin and respiratory irritation can also follow exposure to respective organs. As with lead, overexposure to bismuth can result in the formation of a black deposit on the gingiva
Gingiva
The gingiva , or gums, consists of the mucosal tissue that lies over the mandible and maxilla inside the mouth.-General description:...

, known as a bismuth line.

Bismuth's environmental impacts are not very well known. It is considered that its environmental impact is small, due in part to the low solubility of its compounds. Limited information however means that a close eye should be kept on its impact.

See also


{{Wikipedia books|Bismuth}}
  • Lead-bismuth eutectic
    Lead-bismuth eutectic
    Lead-Bismuth Eutectic or LBE is a eutectic alloy of lead and bismuth used as a coolant in some nuclear reactors, and is a proposed coolant for the lead-cooled fast reactor, part of the Generation IV reactor initiative....

  • Bismuth minerals

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External links


{{Commons|Bismuth}}
{{wiktionary|bismuth}}
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{{Compact periodic table}}
{{Bismuth compounds}}

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