Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bismuth APEX Mineral

Bismuth (Bi #83) is the next element on the periodic table for my APEX mineral collection.  

Wikipedia Bismuth
Bismuth Minerals - There are many 
Bismuth minerals.  
Native Bismuth is the obvious APEX Mineral choice.    
Bismuth has one of the lowest values of thermal conductivity among metals.  It is one of very few substances of which the liquid phase is denser than its solid phase (water being the best-known example). 

Bismuth was long considered the element with the highest atomic mass that is stable. However, it was recently discovered to be slightly radioactive with a half life more than a billion times the estimated age of the universe.  So now Lead gets the title of last stable element.
Bismuth was used in alloys since ancient times although it was simply confused with lead and tin, which share some physical properties. 
Bismuth has few commercial applications.  The most well known use is the active ingredient (Bismuth subsalicylate) in Pepto-Bismol and Kaopectate. The exact pharmaceutical mechanism is not known.
Bismuth is not involved in any biological process.  It is relatively non-toxic.