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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Bismuth is a chemical element that has the symbol Bi and atomic number 83. This heavy, brittle, white crystalline trivalent poor metal has a pink tinge and chemically resembles arsenic and antimony. Of all the metals, it is the most naturally diamagnetic, and only mercury has a lower thermal conductivity
  • Bismuth is a white, crystalline, brittle metal with a pinkish tinge. It occurs in a native state. Bismuth is the most diamagnetic of all metals, and the thermal conductivity is lower than any metal, except mercury. It has a high electrical resistance, and has the highest Hall effect of any metal (i.e., greatest increase in electrical resistance when placed in a magnetic field).

Process

  • The most important ores are bismuthinite or bismuth glance and bismite. Peru, Japan, Mexico, Bolivia, and Canada are major bismuth producers. Much of the bismuth produced in the U.S. is obtained as a by-product in refining lead, copper, tin, silver, and gold ores.
  • Bismuth is recovered mainly during the smelting of copper and lead ores. Bismuth-containing dust from copper smelting operations is transferred to lead smelting operations for recovery. At lead smelting operations, bismuth is recovered by one of two processes: the Betterton-Kroll Process and the Betts Electrolytic Process , Bismuth can also be recovered from other bismuth -bearing materials by the process.

Market

  • The average price for bismuth in 2000 was US$ 7.70 per kilogram. It is relatively cheap, since like lead (but to a much lesser extent), it is radiogenic, being formed from the natural decay of uranium and thorium (specifically, by way of neptunium-237 or uranium-233).
  • Significant growth in the bismuth market is attributed to its physical properties being similar to lead except that it is non-toxic.This is driving bismuth consumption in lead-free solders for the plumbing and electronics industries, as well as for brasses, alloys used in hot-dip galvanizing, paint pigments, ammunition, radiation shielding and free cutting steel.The annual bismuth market is in excess of 10,000 tonnes and recent growth (approximately 15%) has been constrained almost entirely by a lack of supply resulting in increases in price to more than US$8.00/lb.
  • The average annual dealer price for bismuth increased to $3.91 per pound, an increase of 17% more than that of 2004. Strong world mine and refinery output especially from China helped to moderate the price increase in light of continuing steady to strong world demand.
  • Worldwide bismuth demand appeared to be increasing at about 3% to 5% per year. Demand for bismuth in the steel sector, although relatively minor compared with other use sectors, appeared to be increasing. World consumption in the chemical fi eld seemed to be rising, especially in Japan, as bismuth there was starting to replace lead in pigments.

.Application

  • Bismuth oxychloride is sometimes used in cosmetics. Also bismuth subnitrate and bismuth subcarbonate are used in medicine. Bismuth subsalicylate (the active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol) is used as an antidiarrheal and to treat some other gastro-intestinal diseases. Also, bismuth subgallate (the active ingredient in Devrom) is used as an internal deodorant to treat malodor from flatulence (or gas) and stool..
  • The field of application of our bismuth-based chemicals is very broad and extends from the pharmaceuticals industry via the substitution of toxic lead compounds to the electronics industry, where bismuth compounds are frequently used because of their unique properties.
  • Bismuth is used in a number of very different applications. Almost none of the uses is for pure metallic bismuth. The majority is consumed in bismuth alloys, and in pharmaceuticals and chemicals. The remainder is used in ceramics, paints, catalysts, and a variety of minor applications

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