Bismuth is a brittle, crystalline metal with a silvery white colour when it is freshly produced. Surface oxidation, however, lends it an iridescent and pinkish tinge over time. It is the most naturally diamagnetic element and has one of the lowest values of thermal conductivity among metals. The metal also has an unusually low melting point, enabling it to form alloys easily, which are used for molds, fire detectors, and fire extinguishers.
Bismuth has unusually low toxicity for a heavy metal, while it shares physical properties with other heavy metals such as Lead and Tin. As the toxicity of Lead has become more apparent in recent years, there has been an increase in the use of bismuth and its alloys, as a replacement for Lead.
Bismuth and its compounds have many uses, including in cosmetics, alloys, pharmaceuticals, fire extinguishers and ammunition. It is familiarly known as the main ingredient in stomach ache remedies such as Pepto-Bismol.
- Replacement for Lead in Alloys
- Fire detectors and extinguishers
- Casting molds
- Cosmetics and pharmaceuticals