Introduction: Bismuth Eggs

Picture of Bismuth Eggs

In this project I will show you how to make bismuth egg geodes. You will need:

  • 2lbs of Bismuth
  • Eggshells, blown, washed, and dried.
  • Pliers,
  • Aluminum crucible,
  • Propane torch,
  • Oven mitts.


    This process is dangerous. We will be using molten metal. Please wear eye protection.

Step 1: Melting Bismuth

Picture of Melting Bismuth

Bismuth melts at a relatively low temperature for a metal at 520.6°F (271.4°C). It can easily be accomplished with a propane torch. Heat the metal until it is completely melted. Dross will rise to the surface. Once the metal is all liquid scrape the dross off using your metal scraper. The surface of your metal will be silver for a short time and then it will quickly turn shades of orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. These are different thicknesses of bismuth oxide forming on the surface of the molten metal. I am always amazed by how beautiful molten metal is.

Step 2: Pouring the Bismuth

Picture of Pouring the Bismuth

This is probably the most dangerous part of the process so please remember to wear your eye protection and work carefully. Carefully wrap your eggshell with aluminum to catch the molten bismuth if the eggshell breaks. Next slowly pour the bismuth into the eggshell. This is where the art happens. You need to wait until the surface begins to harden at which point you will pour out the remaining molten bismuth. To gauge when the metal is ready I tapped the side of the egg and watched the ripples move across the surface of the metal. When the surface no longer rippled I knew the egg was ready to pour. Pour the remaining material back into your crucible.

Step 3: Crack Open Your Egg

Picture of Crack Open Your Egg

Wait for your egg to cool enough that you can hold it in your hand. Then start cracking the eggshell. I found that tapping it on the corner of the counter top pulverized the shell without damaging the bismuth sculpture inside. At this point you can see what it looks like. If you don't like how it looks just melt it back down and try again.

Step 4: Enjoy

Picture of Enjoy

Here are a few different eggs that I made. Each one is unique.

Comments

Alywolf (author)2016-04-21

awesome, I cant wait to try this. did you make the pin hole needed to blow out the eggs larger? or did you pour it down that tiny hole?

davidstay (author)Alywolf2016-04-21

I tried it two different ways, first with two holes (one on top and one on bottom) and after it was blown I plugged up one end with clay and enlarged the other for pouring to about 1cm^2. For the second way, I made a single hole that was fairly large and poured the egg out of that hole (3-4cm^2). I found that both methods worked but the second way was easier because you don't need the clay to plug the other hole.

Fuzzy Monkey (author)2016-04-19

This is awesome! I love rocks and minerals!

ThomasK19 (author)Fuzzy Monkey2016-04-20

It's neither: it's an element. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bismuth

Alywolf (author)ThomasK192016-04-21

Bismuth is also a mineral. There are several minerals that are single elements like copper. It can also be part of a rock but not a rock in and of itself.

Elements + elements = minerals, Can be the same element.

Copper + Copper = copper an element and mineral

Silicon + Oxygen = SiO2 Quartz.

Minerals + different minerals = Rocks.

Quartz + Feldspar+ Mica + other = granite a rock.

SHOE0007 (author)2016-04-20

You should include more safety. Red Nile explains how to extract bismuth from pepto bismol pills with Hydrochloric acid 25%, Aluminum foil, filter paper, etc. You can buy 100 g of bismuth but it is quite expensive 69 dollars Canadian.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grpSfjUImUs

Greenman2 (author)2016-04-20

I believe that if you expose the bismuth to air while it is still hot it will turn colourfull, just something to try. But otherwise good job and nice eggs.

Just4Fun Media (author)2016-04-19

Great instructable! I love the contrast between the smooth outside and jagged bismuth crystals inside. How long did the eggs take to cool?

Have a great day! :-)

davidstay (author)Just4Fun Media2016-04-20

After pouring out the remaining liquid bismuth it took about 10 minutes for me to feel comfortable holding it to break off the shell.

jedisalamander (author)2016-04-19

THIS IS SO COOL!!!! How much does bismuth cost?

davidstay (author)jedisalamander2016-04-20

You can usually find bismuth on line for between $10 and $16 a pound depending on the amount you purchase (the more you buy the less it is per pound). I purchased my bismuth here (http://stores.ebay.com/cerroboltonmetal/).

stringstretcher (author)2016-04-19

neato! I really like this!

Thank you! I had a great time doing it.

wold630 (author)2016-04-19

I like that each one is different!

davidstay (author)wold6302016-04-19

It is really amazing to see these beautifully individual sculptures develop before your eyes.

Chipper Bert (author)2016-04-19

These are really beautiful.

I'd love to give it a go but where does one get bismuth? (I live a bit in the boondocks)

davidstay (author)Chipper Bert2016-04-19

I purchased my bismuth from Cerro Bolton Metal on Ebay (http://stores.ebay.com/cerroboltonmetal/). They were very easy to work with and had very fair pricing.

About This Instructable

6,471views

118favorites

License:

More by davidstay:Bismuth Eggs
Add instructable to: