Bismuth is considered to be one of the most abundant types of metal in the Earth’s crust, it is an element that is located in group number 15 of the periodic table, its chemical symbol is Bi, its atomic number is 83 and it has a mass 208.9804 atomic units. The word Bismuth comes from the German word “bisemutum” which means “white matter”, thanks to the color of this element.
It comprises 0.00002% of the crust, being very scarce and very similar to silver. It can be found in mineral formations in its pure metallic state. Its melting point is 271 ° C, its density is 9800 kg / m³ and the boiling point is 1560 ° C.
In the past this element was confused with lead and tin, as they have some similar properties, but chemists have always tried to demonstrate their differences.
Physical Properties of Bismuth.
- Color : silver white, with a reddish or pink tone.
- Stripe : silver white.
- Hardness : 2 – 2.5 (Mohs)
- Transparency : opaque
- Specific weight : 9.7 – 9.8
- Brightness : metallic.
- Forma: granular/laminar.
- Crystal system : hexagonal
- Ordinary state : solid
- Density : 9780 kg / m3
- Crystal structure : rhombohedral
- Melting point : (271 ° C)
- Boiling point : (1564 ° C)
- Enthalpy of vaporization : 104.8 kJ / mol
- Enthalpy of fusion : 11.3 kJ / mol
- Vapor pressure : 0.000627
- Critical point : (-2 ° C)
It is one of the first ten metals that were discovered, its discovery is not attributed to any specific person, since it was known since ancient times. This element was initially confused with lead and tin, due to their similarity. Based on a careful observation of the physical properties of this metal, the researcher Georgius Agrícola, specifically in the year 1546, stated that Bismuth was a different metal in the family of metals where tin and lead are included.
In the age of alchemy, some miners gave the Bismuth its name of “tectum argenti” which means “silver being made” where they referred to the fact that silver would be found within the earth in the process of formation.
In the year 1738, researchers such as Carl Wilhelm Scheele, Johann Heinrich Pott, and Torbern Olof Bergman made clear the distinction between Bismuth and Lead; but it was not until 1753 that Claude François Geoffrey demonstrated that Bismuth metal was totally different from tin and lead.
The Incas also used this element along with tin and copper, where they made a bronze alloy to make knives.
Bismuth physical characteristics.
It is a glossy, crystalline, glossy, hard and brittle white metal. The Bismuth expands when it solidifies, it is important to note that this reaction are few metals. Furthermore, and with the exception of mercury, this metal has a lower thermal conductivity, compared to any other metal.
When exposed to dry air at room temperature Bismuth is inert, but if exposed to moisture it tends to oxidize slightly. Similarly, if it is exposed to temperatures above its melting point, it quickly forms an oxide layer, becoming inflamed when it turns red and forming yellow oxide.
This metal can be directly combined with halogens, sulfur, tellurium and selenium, but never with phosphorous and nitrogen. Common temperature carbonated water does not attack it, but water vapors can slowly oxidize it to a red color.
Generally, its form is trivalent in almost all of its compounds, but sometimes it can be monovalent or pentavalent. It is important to highlight that sodium Bismuth and Bismuth pentafluoride are very important compounds of Bi (V), since the former is a very powerful oxidizing agent and the latter a very useful fluorinating agent for organic compounds.
Spiritual properties of Bismuth.
- The Bismuth stone is well known as it helps activate kundalini energy, these stones modify the energy in the crown chakra, sending it back to the root chakra.
- When placed in the crown chakra, it helps to experience better judgment, greater knowledge and foresight.
- It is effective in gathering members of a group.
- They have very useful and stimulating healing attributes for the body.
- They are very useful to help adapt to high vibration stones.
- It helps to connect deeply with the universal mind and with all that is.
- When you experience feelings of loneliness, self-separation, or separation from other people, they help you adjust.
- Attract positive vibes when it comes to money.
- In gambling and gambling, it attracts good luck.
- It helps the individual to have more constructive and less obsolete ideas.
- The Bismuth is used in the pharmaceutical industry, this being the required greater use of this element, for producing antidiarrheal drugs and chemicals to treat eye and bacterial infections, allergies, flatulence, syphilis, colds, etc.
- The industrial sector also makes use of Bismuth in order to manufacture pigments for cosmetic products, such as hair spray, nail polish paints and eyeshadows, among others.
- In the metallurgical industry, this element is very useful for manufacturing low melting point alloys, to be used as suppression devices for security systems and fire detectors.
- Bismuth is an excellent substitute for lead that is toxic and thanks to its close densities, it is used to make ballasts, ballistic projectiles, among others.
- Bismuth is used as a coating for latex shields, which are used as X-ray protection in some medical analysis tests, such as CT scans, thanks to its valuable atomic weight and high density.
- There are vehicles with thermocouple systems, which transport fuel for U-235 and U-233 nuclear reactors, Bismuth is used in the same way for this type of system.
- Bismanol arises from the Bismuth alloy with manganese, which is used to make very powerful permanent magnets.
- Bismuth oxychloride is used in the manufacture of artificial pearls.
- When X-rays of the digestive system are required, Bismuth nitrate is supplied to the patient in a porridge, since this composition is relatively opaque to X-rays.
Various uses of Bismuth.
Origin and formation of Bismuth.
The Bismuth occurs frequently in treelike dendritic groups also in high temperature hydrothermal veins or pegmáticos deposits. It is usually shown in granular or laminar form, also in the form of fibers or needles.
Bismuth main deposits.
China is considered to be the world’s largest producer of Bismuth, producing exactly 7200 metric tons; eight times more than all producing countries combined; which are: Mexico with 825 metric tons, Russia with 40 metric tons, Canada with 35 metric tons and Bolivia with 10 metric tons. Likewise, it has been commented that in South America are the main and most extensive deposits of Bismuth.
Other locations where Bismuth can be found are: Germany, the United States, Spain, England and Australia.
Toxic effects produced by Bismuth.
The effects that this element can produce on health are diverse, since Bismuth can enter the body through ingestion, inhalation and contact with the skin. If Bismuth is administered in large doses, its salts can cause liver problems or serious poisoning.
If inhaled, the acute effects that may occur are: respiratory irritation, gingivitis, metallic taste and bad breath. If it is an ingestion, the causes are: nausea, vomiting, weight loss, skin reactions, loss of appetite, headache, fever, albuminuria, stomatitis, among others.
Regarding the effects on the environment, Bismuth is not considered toxic, due to the fact that its components are poorly soluble, but likewise its handling must be careful, since the known information on its effects on the environment is very limited.
Curiosities of Bismuth.
- Bismuth was mistaken for metals like tin and lead many centuries ago.
- In 1753 Claude Geoffrey demonstrated that Bismuth was different from lead.
- Torbern Bergman and Carl Scheele were in charge of discovering Bismuth as an element.
- It is considered one of the most abundant metals in the Earth’s crust, occupying the 73rd place.
- Bismuth, apart from another metal, is one of the worst thermal conductors existing among all metals.
- 75% of the Bismuth that is produced is used in cosmetics and medicine.
- This metal was one of the first 10 to be discovered, for which reason no specific character is attributed its discovery.
- Bismuth has a silver-colored appearance with a reddish tint, but if this metal freezes, it tends to expand slightly.
- It is a metal suitable for foundries, and has the characteristic of being a substance that is hardly magnetized.