Symbol Bi
Atomic Number 83
Atomic Mass 208.980
Discovered by French chemist Claude Geoffroy the Younger.

Chemical Properties of Bismuth

Group 15 Melting point 271.406°C, 520.531°F, 544.556 K
Period 6 Boiling point 1564°C, 2847°F, 1837 K
Block p Density (g cm−3) 9.79
Atomic number 83 Relative atomic mass 208.980  
State at 20°C Solid Key isotopes 209Bi 
Electron configuration [Xe] 4f14  5d16s6p3  CAS number 7440-69-9
ChemSpider ID 4514266 ChemSpider is a free chemical database

What is Bismuth?

  • Bismuth is an element of the periodic table with an atomic number of 83. Its sulfide and oxide are some of its commercial ores.
  • It is a brittle white metal with a pinkish tinge. It is located in Group V of the Periodic Table with nitrogen, phosphorus, arsenic, and antimony. It resembles antimony in its mode of occurrence but is less common.
  • The content of bismuth in the earth’s crust has been estimated(229)to be 0.00002 weight %, about the same abundance as silver. Its cosmic abundance is estimated to be at about one atom per 107 atoms of silicon. The metallic properties of bismuth are more pronounced than that of either antimony or arsenic.
  • Bismuth, along with As and Sb, is used as a gold pathfinder element (Boyle 1974) as it often indicates the presence of granitic intrusive centers and discordant structures that focus on lode gold mineralizing systems.
  • Due to its higher growth rate around the outer sides than on the inner sides bismuth crystals form a spiral, stair-stepped structure.

Uses of Bismuth

  • Bismuth is a brittle metal, so it is usually mixed with other metals to make it useful
  • It is used in extinguishers, electric fuses, and fire detectors.
  • Certain bismuth compounds are also manufactured and used as pharmaceuticals.
  • Industry makes use of bismuth compounds as catalysts in manufacturing acrylonitrile, the starting material for synthetic fibers and rubbers.
  • It is occasionally used in the production of shot and shotguns.

Practise This Question

Assume that Millikan performed the oil drop experiment. In the oil drop experiment, the following charges(in arbitrary units) were found on a series of oil droplets. Calculate the magnitude of the charge on the electron.