Bismuth (Bi)

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Bismuth single crystal 83Bi208.980

Known in the fifteenth century, discoverer unknown.

  French: bismuth
  German: Bismut
  Italian: bismuto
  Spanish: bismuto

Description: Bismuth is a brittle metal with a silvery lustre and an pink tinge. It is stable to oxygen and water, but dissolves in concentrated HNO3. Bismuth is used in alloys, pharmaceuticals, electronics, catalysts, cosmetics and pigments. The metal expands on solidification.

Bismuth single crystal properties


State: Single crystal
Crystal structure: rhombohedral
Production method: Bridgman
Standard size: diameter 12mm
thickness 1-2mm
Orientation: (100), (110) and (111)
Orientation accuracy: <2°, <1°, <0.4° or <0.1°
Polishing: as cut, one or two sides polished
Roughness of surface: <0.03 µm
Purity: 99.999%


Typical analysis (ppm): C 3
H < 1
O 9
N < 5
Cu 1.60
Fe 1.80
Ni < 1
Pb 0.30
Si 0.30

  Ga, Hf and Ta are below the detection limit



Further Materials properties


Crystal structure: (cell dimensions/pm), space group, rhombohedral (a=454.950, c=1186.225), R3m
X-ray diffractions mass absorption coefficients: CuKa 240 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
MoKa 120 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
Neutron scattering length: 0.8533 b/10-12 cm
Thermal neutron capture cross-section: 0.034 sa / barns
Density: 9,8 g/cm-3 [293 K]; 2390 [liquid at m.p.]
Melting point: 271.35 °C / 544.5 °K
Boiling point: 1609.85±5 °C / 1883±5 °K
Molar volume: 21.44 cm3
Thermal conductivity: 7.87 [300 K] Wm-1K-1
Coefficient of linear thermal expansion: 13.4 x 10-6 K-1
Electrical resistivity: 106.8x10-8 [293 K] Wm
Mass magnetic susceptibility: -1684 x 10-9(s) kg-1m3
Young's modulus: 34.0 GPa
Rigidity modulus: 12.8 GPa
Bulk modulus: n.a.
Poisson's ratio: 0.33
Radi: Bi5+ 74; Bi3+ 96; atomic 155; covalent 152; van der Waals 240
Electronegativity: 2.02 (Pauling); 1.67 (Allred); 4.69 eV (absolute)
Effective nuclear charge: 6.30 (Slater); 13.34 (Clementi); 16.90 (Froese-Fischer)
Number of Isotopes (incl. nuclear isomers): 37
Isotope mass range: 189 -> 215



Biological data


Biological role: none
Toxic intake: n.a.
Lethal intake: c. 15 g (only one case reported)
Hazards: Bismuth is regarded as one of the less toxic heavy metals and it is commonly used as a medicine for stomach upsets. Excess bismuth can cause mild kidney damage
Level in humans  
Blood: 0.016 mg dm-3
Bone: <0.2 ppm
Liver: 0.015 - 0.33 ppm
Muscle: 0.32 ppm
Daily dietary intake: 0.005 - 0.02 mg
Total mass of element in average
[70 kg] person:
<0.5 mg


Geological data


Minerals:Native bismuth occurs naturally as metallic crystals associated with nickel, cobalt, silver, tin and uranium sulfide ores; found in Brazil, England, Norway and Canada
MineralFormulaDensityHardnessCrystal apperance
Bismite  a-Bi2O3  8.64  4.4  mon., sub-adam. yellow
Bismuthinite  Bi2S3  6.78  2  orth., met. grey
Bismutite  Bi2O2(CO3)  8.15  2.5 - 3.5  tet., vit. yellow


Chief ore: native bismuth and bismuthinite; mainly produced as a by-product from lead and copper smelters, especially in the USA
World production: 3000 tonnes/year
Main mining areas: Bolivia, Peru, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia
Reserves: n.a.
Specimen: available as ingots, pieces, powder and shot.


Sun: <80 (relative to H = 1 x 1012)
Earth's crust: 0.048 ppm
Atlantic surface: 5.1 x 10-8 ppm
Atlantic deep: n.a.
Pacific surface: 4 x 10-8 ppm
Pacific deep: 0.4 x 10-8 ppm
Residence time: n.a.
Classification: scavenged
Oxidation state: III

  Source: Emsley, J. (1998) The Elements (3rd Edition)

Other sizes and specifications on request

Overview of elements with access to our shop

1 18
2 13 14 15 16 17
Li Be B C
Na Mg 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Al Si P S
K Ca Sc Ti V Cr Mn Fe Co Ni Cu Zn Ga Ge As Se
Rb Sr Y Zr Nb Mo
Ru Rh Pd Ag Cd In Sn Sb Te I
Cs Ba La Hf Ta W Re Os Ir Pt Au Hg Tl Pb Bi
Ce Pr Nd
Sm Eu Gd Tb Dy Ho Er Tm Yb Lu

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