Bismuth: Description, Properties, Uses & Facts

Bismuth: Description, Properties, Uses & Facts

Bismuth: A Fascinating Element with Diverse Applications and Properties


Bismuth, with the chemical symbol Bi and atomic number 83, is a remarkable chemical element that holds a unique place in the periodic table. Known for its distinct properties and diverse applications, bismuth has captured the interest of scientists, chemists, and enthusiasts alike. In this blog, we will explore various aspects of bismuth, ranging from its elemental properties to its compounds, applications, and interesting facts.

Elemental Properties:

Latin name: Bismuthium

Symbol: Bi

Atomic Number: 83

Atomic Mass: 208.98 u

Electron configuration short: [Xe] 4f14 5d10 6s2 6p3

Electron configuration 

Long form: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 3d10 4s2 4p6 4d10 4f14 5s2 5p6 5d10 6s2 6p32

Valence Electron: 5

Valency: 3, 5

Position in the Periodic Table: Bismuth is a post-transition metal located in Group 15 (formerly known as Group V-A) and Period 6 of the periodic table.

Chemical and Physical Properties:

  • Bismuth is a dense, brittle metal with a silvery-white appearance.
  • It has a relatively low melting point of 271.4°C (520.5°F), making it one of the few metals that are liquid at or near room temperature.
  • Bismuth expands when it solidifies, which is an unusual property among metals.

Bismuth Compounds:

  • Bismuth forms a variety of compounds, including oxides, halides, and sulfides.
  • Bismuth oxide (Bi₂O₃) is a yellow powder used in the production of glass and enamels.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate, known as Pepto-Bismol, is a common over-the-counter medication used to treat gastrointestinal issues.

Chemical Reactions with Other Elements:

  • Bismuth reacts with halogens to form bismuth halides, such as bismuth bromide.
  • It does not react with air at room temperature, forming a protective oxide layer that prevents further corrosion.

Occurrence and Production:

  • Bismuth is a relatively rare element in the Earth's crust, often found in association with other metals such as lead, zinc, and tin.
  • It is primarily obtained as a byproduct of the refining process of these metals.

Uses and Facts:

  • Bismuth has various industrial applications, including alloys with low melting points, such as fusible alloys for fire sprinkler systems.
  • Bismuth is a key ingredient in certain cosmetics and pharmaceuticals due to its low toxicity.
  • Bismuth is used in the production of bismuth crystals, which exhibit unique geometric patterns when cooled slowly.

Bismuth Metal:

  • The metal has interesting applications, including its use in alloys like Wood's metal and Newton's metal, known for their low melting points.
  • Bismuth metal is often employed in the electronics industry for its ability to form superconducting compounds.

Bismuth Crystals:

  • Bismuth crystals are a popular subject for enthusiasts and artists due to their vibrant and iridescent colors.
  • These crystals form when molten bismuth solidifies and undergo a process called oxidation-reduction, creating stunning geometric patterns.

Bismuth Subcitrate:

Bismuth subcitrate is a compound used in medications to treat gastrointestinal issues, particularly as an anti-diarrheal agent.

Colloidal Bismuth Subcitrate:

  • Colloidal bismuth subcitrate is a form of bismuth subcitrate that is finely dispersed in a liquid.
  • It is known for its effectiveness in treating Helicobacter pylori infections, a common cause of stomach ulcers.


Bismuth, with its unique properties and diverse applications, stands out as a versatile and intriguing element. From its use in alloys and medications to the mesmerizing beauty of bismuth crystals, this element continues to captivate scientists and enthusiasts alike. As we delve deeper into the world of chemistry, bismuth remains an essential player, showcasing both practical applications and aesthetic wonders.

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