Bismuth is found in metallic crystals associated with nickel, silver, tin and uranium sulphide ores. It has a limited abundance in the earth’s crust and as a result, Bismuth is not typically mined as a primary product. Instead Bismuth is usually produced as by-product from processing other metal ores.
Bismuth is a heavy, brittle metal with a silvery white colour. The surface of Bismuth has a slight pink tinge to it, due to the formation of a surface oxide. Bismuth is the most diamagnetic of all metals, and with the exception of mercury, has a lower thermal conductivity than any other metal. The electrical resistance of Bismuth is very high and Bismuth also exhibits a higher "Hall effect” than any other metal. The “Hall effect” is the increase in the electrical resistance when placed within a magnetic field.
Bismuth is used in producing malleable irons, as a catalyst for making acrylic fibres, and as a thermocouple material. It is also used as a filter for gamma rays due to its high absorption of this type of radiation. Other applications include use in fire detection and as a carrier for uranium fuel in nuclear reactors.
Bismuth compounds are used in relatively wide range of medical procedures, medicines and cosmetics.
Advent Research Materials Ltd supplies Bismuth in pellet and ingot form in various different quantities.
Further properties of bismuth have been outlined below:
- Bismuth Melting point 271.31 °C
- Bismuth Density 9780 kgm-3
- Bismuth Young’s modulus 32 GPa
- Bismuth Poisson’s ratio 0.33
- Bismuth Electrical Resistivity 130 x 10-8 Wm
- Bismuth Thermal Conductivity 8 W m-1 K-1