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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

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.
 
aheibi7 months ago

This is cool.

Have you ever seen a solid Helium before?

Millerln aheibi2 months ago
No one has ever seen solid helium before. It's practically impossible to get helium cold enough to solidify it.
aheibi Millerln2 months ago

True, it is hard to make solid Helium. Did you ever heard the term 'super-solid'- it is a condition that every atom in a metrial can't even move, only happend in absolute zero.

This is how solid Helium looks like: http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Shaking_down_frozen_helium_In_a_supersolid_state_it_has_liquid_like_characteristics_999.html

JoshA113 months ago

I bought my Bismuth from here on ebay and my crystals looked great! Definitely will do this again!

JoshA11 JoshA113 months ago

http://www.ebay.com/itm/100-grams-Bismuth-Metal-99-99-Pure-Element-Crystals-Ingot-Chunk-USA-/251976590733?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3aaaf9a58d

Looks amazing!

What I was wondering now though is can you get any stainless steel shaped mold/container and do this with them? I thought it would be cool for a project to get like a stainless steel Pi symbol mold and make a crystal Pi.

Yes I have done the process with just a cup cake tin but it would be cool if other shapes would work.

We found that German battleship was makin' such a fuss
We had to sink the bismuth 'cause the world depends on us

mcgonagilln10 months ago

Cool! I had to do a project on Bismuth for school and this really helped. Thanks!

ninjakid111 year ago

Neat! can't wait to try it, if my mom lets me. I'll post if it has any dangers or value. 8^D

Turns out it is only worth a few dollars, but still interesting. Just don't try to sell it at a high price.

cabinnature2 years 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

What services do these pose?

ninjakid111 year ago

Where did u get the idea? please post as soon as you can!

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.
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)  sinkingjeans2 years 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.
TekoMuto2 years ago
do i gotta go to Bismark to get Bismuth?
bmontgomery3 (author)  TekoMuto2 years ago
lol no...but that was clever
techhobbit2 years 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)  techhobbit2 years 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)  sovetstudentu2 years ago
No problem. Thanks for looking :)
ringai2 years ago
Those are pretty.
bmontgomery3 (author)  ringai2 years ago
Thank you :)
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)  Dominic Bender2 years ago
They are pretty cool looking, I specifically like how they create a square pattern when the crystals form. Thanks for looking :)
I was thinking the same thing when I saw this one. They are pretty neat.