|Atomic mass||208.9804 amu|
|Number of Stable Isotopes||1|
|Date of discovery||Known since the 15th century.|
|Name of discoverer||Shown to be a distinct element in 1753 by Claude Geoffrey|
|Name origin||From the German bisemutum, related to wissmuth, "white mass".|
|Uses||Pharmaceuticals, alloys, electronics, pigments, fire alarms, and pyrotechnics|
|Obtained from||Bismuthine, bismuthinite, bismite, bismutite. Commercially obtained as byproduct of lead or copper smelting.|
This heavy, brittle, white crystalline trivalent 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. It has generally been considered to be the last stable, non-radioactive element on the periodic table. But its one "stable" isotope was recently shown to be radioactive with half-life of over 1019 (19 quintillion) years.
Bismuth compounds are used in cosmetics, medicines, and in medical procedures. As the toxicity of lead has become more apparent in recent years, alloy uses for bismuth metal as a replacement for lead have become an increasing part of bismuth's commercial importance.
Alloys with bismuth can have very low melting points, and are used as triggers in fire sprinkler systems.
|Periodic Table of the Elements|