The Element Bismuth
Atomic Number: 83
Atomic Weight: 208.98040
Melting Point: 544.55 K (271.40°C or 520.52°F)
Boiling Point: 1837 K (1564°C or 2847°F)
Density: 9.807 grams per cubic centimeter
Phase at Room Temperature: Solid
Element Classification: Metal
Period Number: 6
Group Number: 15
Group Name: Pnictogen
Special Notes: Radioactive
What's in a name? From the German words for white mass, Weisse Masse which was later changed to Wisuth and Bisemutum.
Say what? Bismuth is pronounced as BIZ-meth.
History and Uses:
Bismuth, which has been known since ancient times, was often confused with lead and tin. Bismuth was first shown to be a distinct element in 1753 by Claude Geoffroy the Younger. Bismuth does occur free in nature and in such minerals as bismuthinite (Bi2S3) and bismite (Bi2O3). The largest deposits of bismuth are found in Bolivia, although bismuth is usually obtained as a by-product of mining and refining lead, copper, tin, silver and gold.
Pure bismuth is a white, brittle metal with a slight pink color. Bismuth is usually mixed with other metals, such as lead, tin, iron or cadmium to form low-melting alloys. These alloys are used in such things as automatic fire sprinkler systems, fire detection systems and electrical fuses.
Bismuth oxide (Bi2O3), a bismuth compound, is used as a yellow pigment in paints and cosmetics. Bismuth oxychloride (BiOCl) is used to make a pigment known as bismuth white. Bismuth carbonate (Bi2(CO3)3) is used to treat diarrhea and gastric ulcers.
Once thought to be the heaviest stable isotope to exist in nature, experiments conducted in 2002 showed that bismuth-209 is unstable and decays into thallium-205 through alpha decay. Bismuth-209 has a half-life of roughly 19,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
Estimated Crustal Abundance: 8.5×10-3 milligrams per kilogram
Estimated Oceanic Abundance: 2×10-5 milligrams per liter
Number of Stable Isotopes: 0 (View all isotope data)
Ionization Energy: 7.289 eV
Oxidation States: +5, +3
3s2 3p6 3d10
4s2 4p6 4d10 4f14
5s2 5p6 5d10
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For questions about this page, please contact Steve Gagnon.