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How to make Bismuth Crystals

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Picture of How to make Bismuth Crystals
Ever wanted to make your own bismuth crystals? Well you can by following these steps.

*NOTE: As much fun and pretty as these crystals may be please be aware that this is metal. Melting metals will give off fumes; try to avoid breathing in those fumes for health reasons. For complete details on bismuth and its' properties please read the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) found here: http://www.sciencelab.com/msds.php?msdsId=9927101

Materials Needed:

Metal Bismuth (99.999% pure bismuth is preferred. The cheapest place to acquire some is at Roto's Metals; they sell it by the pound: http://www.rotometals.com/Bismuth-s/4.htm)

2-3 Stainless Steel cups (stainless steel is preferred but aluminum cup will work too. They can be found at any store that sells kitchen accessories. For this example a muffin tin was cut up and used.)

Stove top or Hotplate (propane torch optional) (The hotplate can be found at almost any chemical store online.)

Oven mitts

Tongs

Hammer
 
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Step 1: Melting the Bismuth

Picture of Melting the Bismuth
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Using the hammer break the bismuth into desired sized chunks 

Place the stainless steel/aluminum cups into the stove top/hotplate and turn it to medium-high

Wait and watch for the bismuth to begin melting. If not turn up the stove top/hotplate.

Optional: if the stove top/hotplate does not get hot enough to melt the bismuth, a propane torch can be used to carefully melt the bismuth. WARNING propane torches are very hot and dangerous. please wear proper hand protection and eye protection before use.

Wearing the oven mitt(s) shake the container and watch for ripples in the liquid bismuth to check and see that it has all melted.
cabinnature8 months ago
thanks.we also process bismuth lump into needle shape and granule shape.If anyone interest,we are available anytime

richard castle
cabinnature@gmail.com
skype: castle8009
Sorry but how safe is it to melt bismuth? From what I've heard, the fumes given off by melting bismuth can be extremely dangerous. Is this true?, because this is something I really want to do but I'm anxious about the danger to my lungs.
sinkingjeans9 months ago
I used your method and this thin layer of yellow dust formed on the inside of the pan where it was in contact with the bismuth. It could be a contaminant but I don't think that it would coat the inside since its 99.9% pure or it could be a nonstick layer that separates with high heat. It happens every time I melt the bismuth. Do you have any idea what it is?
bmontgomery3 (author)  sinkingjeans9 months ago
Well, even though it is not a contaminant, it is considered one. The thin yellow layer is bismuth but it is a chemical reaction that happens when hot liquid bismuth comes into contact with oxygen in the air. This can happen sometimes if the process takes too long. In that case just use something like a fork to gently scrape off the yellow layer and wipe it on a paper towel.
TekoMuto1 year ago
do i gotta go to Bismark to get Bismuth?
bmontgomery3 (author)  TekoMuto1 year ago
lol no...but that was clever
techhobbit1 year ago
Wow, neat. I've seen the really well developed crystals in rock shops, do you know what it takes to develop more elaborate crystals?
bmontgomery3 (author)  techhobbit1 year ago
yes, it depends on how slowly you cool the liquid bismuth. You may also try the dipping method. Take either a 6-12 inch piece of metal wire (preferably copper) or glass and dip it into the cooling bismuth. Then slowly pull it back out, then put it back in and repeat. Square crystals will form on the wire/glass and you can also scope the crystals onto it. I was going to show this too but I ran out of bismuth.
Thanks!
bmontgomery3 (author)  sovetstudentu1 year ago
No problem. Thanks for looking :)
ringai1 year ago
Those are pretty.
bmontgomery3 (author)  ringai1 year ago
Thank you :)
Satrek1 year ago
At first I had no idea why anyone would want to ake Bismuth crystals, but your last picture sold me. The first thing that came to me was to use these crystals as a stage or setting for some alien planet, but I guess they are too small for that. Nevertheless, these crystals do have looks. Thanks for sharing!
bmontgomery3 (author)  Satrek1 year ago
They are pretty cool looking, I specifically like how they create a square pattern when the crystals form. Thanks for looking :)
ringai Satrek1 year ago
I was thinking the same thing when I saw this one. They are pretty neat.
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