Bismuth is a chemical element with the symbol Bi and atomic number 83. It is a brittle white metal with a pinkish tinge. It is located in Group V of the Periodic Table with nitrogen, phosphorus, arsenic, and antimony. It resembles antimony in its mode of occurrence but is less common. The content of Bi in the earth’s crust has been estimated(229)to be 0.00002 weight %, about the same abundance as silver. Its cosmic abundance is estimated to be at about one atom per 107 atoms of silicon. The metallic properties of Bi are more pronounced than that of either antimony or arsenic.
|Melting point||271.3 °C (520.3 °F)|
|Boiling point||1,560 °C (2,840 °F)|
Certain bismuth compounds are also manufactured and used as pharmaceuticals. The industry makes use of bismuth compounds as catalysts in manufacturing acrylonitrile, the starting material for synthetic fibers and rubbers. It is occasionally used in the production of shot and shotguns.
Physical Characteristics of Bismuth
- It is a brittle metal with a white, silver-pink hue, often with an iridescent oxide tarnish showing many colors from yellow to blue.
- When burned in oxygen, bismuth burns with a blue flame and its oxide forms yellow fumes.
- Its toxicity is much lower than that of its neighbors in the periodic table, such as lead, antimony, and polonium.
- It has a high electrical resistivity. When deposited in sufficiently thin layers on a substrate, bismuth is a semiconductor, despite being a post-transition metal.