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Bismuth (Bi): Post-Transition Metals

Bismuth (Bi)

What is Bismuth?

Bismuth (Bi), the most metallic and the least abundant of the elements in the nitrogen group (Group 15 [Va] of the periodic table). Bismuth is hard, brittle, lustrous, and coarsely crystalline. It can be distinguished from all other metals by its color—gray-white with a reddish tinge. Continue reading from Encyclopedia Britannica


The History

Bismuth was discovered by an unknown alchemist around 1400 AD. Later that century it was alloyed with lead to make cast type for printers and decorated caskets were being crafted in the metal. Bismuth was often confused with lead; it was likewise a heavy metal and melted at a relatively low temperature making it easy to work. Georgius Agricola in the early 1500s speculated that it was a distinctly different metal, as did Caspar Neuman in the early 1700s, but proof that it was so finally came in 1753 thanks to the work of Claude-François Geoffroy. Continue reading from Royal Society of Chemistry


Bismuth Facts

Bismuth is a brittle, crystalline, white metal with a slight pink tinge. It has a variety of uses, including cosmetics, alloys, fire extinguishers and ammunition. It is probably best known as the main ingredient in stomach ache remedies such as Pepto-Bismol.

Bismuth, element 83 on the periodic table of elements, is a post-transition metal, according to Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Different versions of the periodic table represent it as a transition metal.) Transition metals — the largest group of elements, which includes copper, lead, iron, zinc and gold — are very hard, with high melting points and boiling points. Post-transition metals share some characteristics of transition metals but are softer and conduct more poorly. In fact, bismuth's electric and thermal conductivity is unusually low for a metal. It also has a particularly low melting point, which enables it to form alloys that can be used for molds, fire detectors and fire extinguishers. Continue reading from LiveScience

Chart of Elemental Properties for Bismuth

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