American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A white, crystalline, brittle, highly diamagnetic metallic element used in alloys to form sharp castings for objects sensitive to high temperatures and in various low-melting alloys for fire-safety devices. Atomic number 83; atomic weight 208.98; melting point 271.3°C; boiling point 1,560°C; specific gravity 9.747; valence 3, 5. See Table at element.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Chemical symbol, Bi; atomic weight, 208; specific gravity, 9.6 to 9.8. A metal of a peculiar light-reddish color, highly crystalline, and so brittle that it can be pulverized. Its crystalline form is rhombohedral, closely approximating that of the cube. It occurs native in imperfect crystallizations, filiform shapes, and disseminated particles, in the crystalline rocks; also as a sulphuret, and in combination with tellurium and some other metals, and in various oxidized combinations. The native metal and the carbonate (bismutite) are the chief important sources of the bismuth of commerce. Until recently, almost the entire supply of the metal came from Schneeberg in Saxony, where it occurs in combination with ores of cobalt, arsenic, and silver. Nearly all the bismuth of commerce contains at least a trace of silver. Bismuth is a remarkable metal in that its specific gravity is diminished, instead of being increased, by pressure. It is the most diamagnetic of the metals. It fuses at a comparatively low temperature (507°), and is volatilized at a white heat. Alloys of bismuth with tin and lead fuse at a temperature considerably less than that of boiling water. (See
Newton'sand Rose's metals, under metallurgy) Alloys of the same metals with the addition of cadmium fuse at still lower temperatures; one prepared by Lipowitz remains perfectly fluid at 140°. These alloys have been used to some extent for clichés and for stereotyping, but are now of little practical importance. The chief uses of bismuth are as a medicine and as a cosmetic. For these purposes it is prepared in the form of the subnitrate called in the old pharmaceutical language magisterium bismuthi. The cosmetic, in preparing which the basic chlorid has also been employed, is known as pearl-powder or blanc d'Espagne. Bismuth has of late years been much experimented with as a possible component of useful alloys, for several of which patents have been issued; but no one of these alloys is known to have come into general use. Bismuth has also been used to a limited extent in the manufacture of highly refractive glass, and of strass (which see). It is used with antimony in the thermo-electric pile or battery. (See thermo-electricity.) It has also begun to be used to some extent in the manufacture of porcelain, for the purpose of giving to its surface a peculiar colorless, irised luster, which can also be had of various colors when other metals are used in combination with the bismuth. This metal is one for which the demand is extremely fluctuating, but on the whole increasing; and, as its ores have nowhere been discovered in large quantity, its price has been more variable than that of any other metal, with the possible exception of nickel, running between 55 cents and 85 a pound. The total consumption of the metal is probably between 25 and 50 tons a year, and it comes chiefly from the Erzgebirge (between Saxony and Bohemia), France, South America, and New South Wales. It was called by the alchemists, while in their uncertain condition of knowledge as to its nature, by various names, as marcasita argentea, plumbum cinereum, stannum cinereum, etc.; also called formerly in French étain de glace, corrupted in English into tin-glosse.
- n. A chemical element (symbol Bi) with an atomic number of 83.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Chem.) One of the elements; a metal of a reddish white color, crystallizing in rhombohedrons. It is somewhat harder than lead, and rather brittle; masses show broad cleavage surfaces when broken across. It melts at 507° Fahr., being easily fused in the flame of a candle. It is found in a native state, and as a constituent of some minerals. Specific gravity 9.8. Atomic weight 207.5. Symbol Bi.
- n. a heavy brittle diamagnetic trivalent metallic element (resembles arsenic and antimony chemically); usually recovered as a by-product from ores of other metals
- Uncertain; perhaps German weiß ("white") Masse ("mass"). (Wiktionary)
- Obsolete German Bismuth. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“I don't know, exactly what alloys you mean, but bismuth is common, and is heavier than lead in atomic weight.”
“The plant, which refines lead, silver, gold and bismuth, is blamed with causing dangerously high lead levels in the blood of more than 50% of the children living in its immediate vicinity.”
“The name bismuth is derived from the old German word wismut, meaning white metal, or meadow mines.”
“The salt represented in the last equation is sometimes called bismuth oxychloride, or bismuthyl chloride.”
“Only one Bolivian mine was a primary bismuth mine; in other countries the bismuth is a by-product of mining other metals.”
“This shews the danger of using white paint on the face, which is called bismuth, but is in reality white lead or cerussa.”
“If the neutral body be lighter than the medium, it exhibits the magnetic induction of iron with respect to polarity, but is nevertheless repelled; while if it be heavier than the medium, its direction is similar to that of diamagnetic bodies such as bismuth, but on the other hand exhibits the phenomena of attraction.”
“Water forms an appreciable number of hydrogen and hydroxyl ions, and very weak bases such as bismuth hydroxide are dissociated to but a very slight extent.”
“Briefly, the procedure involves the covering of the fingers with heavy salts such as bismuth or lead carbonate, in a thin, even film over the pattern area and then, by the use of the”
“Compounds of bismuth fused with cyanide of potassium in a Berlin crucible readily give a globule of bismuth which is recognised by its appearance and fracture.”
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