What is bismuth?

November 2, 2021

The chemical element so present in nature, generally confused with lead, tin and zinc, is called bismuth , this component is characterized by being a silvery white metal color.

In the periodic table we can find represented this element ordered according to its atomic number, electrons and chemical properties, in this case, we can identify it with the symbol Bi, belonging in turn, to the group of metals in block p, with the atomic number 83 .

Used in ancient times as a pigment to shape works of art; today it is used in the metallurgical industry (welding, gas cylinder security seals and water heaters) among others.

Regarding its usefulness, bismuth is used by the pharmacological industry for drugs that treat gastrointestinal disorders.

Let’s continue discovering the combination of the essential chemical elements to know the composition of all the materials that are part of daily life.

Physico-chemical properties of bismuth

It is a highly metallic element, with an atomic weight of 208,980.

For the theorists in the matter, they comprise 0.00002% of the earth’s crust, therefore, it is very scarce; its shape is granular or laminated and it appears as a solid-state rhombohedral hexagonal crystal. Compared to other types of metals, it has a low conductivity.

An important detail to consider is the toxicity effect of bismuth, which, given its high concentration of salts, generates severe liver damage and even drainage.

 Physical characteristics of bismuth

As the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust, it is used by the cosmetic and medical industry , and is also suitable for foundries.

  • Belonging to group Va of the periodic table
  • Crystalline metal
  • Grayish-white in color
  • Lustrous appearance (polished)
  • Hard and brittle texture
  • At high boiling point, forms yellow rust
  • Can be combined with halogens, tellurium, sulfur and selenium
  • Not shareable with phosphorus nitrogen

Everyday use of bismuth

Despite the general lines this chemical element exerts a certain degree of toxicity in the body, when it is processed at an industrial level, its matter is transformed, being considered less toxic than other metals.

Among the countries that produce the most bismuth are: Canada, Japan, Peru, Bolivia and Mexico.

As it responds very well to acid attacks such as hydrochloric acid, it is used by the cosmetic industry (pigmentation in shadows, sprays, enamels and others) and pharmacological in the case of the latter for the following cases:

  • Antidiarrheal
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Bacterial conditions
  • Infections caused by bacteria in the eye
  • Syphilis
  • Flatulence and / or digestive inflammation. 

Some medical combinations of bismuth

Before considering the two main drugs whose active principle is bismuth, it is necessary to point out that the treatment must be indicated by a health specialist, even better if it is a specialist in gastroenterology.

  1. Combined with metronidazole and tetracycline

One of the most common bacteria in various stages of human development (more in adolescence) is Helicobacter Pylori, this is the cause of gastrointestinal disorders as a result of the bacteria lodged in the stomach.

Generally, it is acquired orally (consumption of lettuce, tomatoes or other vegetables that have not been well treated with water and vinegar)

Duodenal or intestinal ulcers are the result of poor attention to said bacteria, having reached higher levels.

The combination of bismuth with metronidazole and tetracline is one of the treatments indicated par excellence to treat this bacterial infection in a timely manner.

  1. Bismuth subsalicylate

It is a medicine par excellence to treat or correct indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea. The main component is Pepto-Bismol and Bis Bacter, both provide the essential active ingredient to correct this type of disorder.

Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

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