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Author: Subject: Bismuth from its Subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol®)
Tacho
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Bismuth from its Subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol®)

I would like to make a few grams of metallic bismuth.

Any chance I could get it from Pepto Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate)?

Any sugestions would be appreciated.

[bfesser: merged 4 threads; replaced subject of first thread, "Bismuth out of Pepto Bismol."]

[Edited on 8.8.13 by bfesser]
Organikum
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I dont know how you can get it from Pepto Bismol, but I know that there are pellets for shotguns available which contain mostly bismuth. They are as replacement for lead-pellets for not contaminating the environment with lead. Dont get the steel-shot so....

Every better sorted hunters/weapon shop will have it or can order it. As it is thought to get mostly dispewrsed all over the earths surface there should be no problem at all to get it - cheap.

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Friedrich Wöhler
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Hi Tacho,

http://www.kremer-pigmente.de/pigmen13.htm#wismutmalerei

Its a German store for painting artists. ("Wismut" = Bismuth)

Well, Brazil is very far from here, but also there must be a source like this...

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chemoleo
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Besides, you can get bismuth from arts supplies (not pigment supplies such as kremer), it is sold pure in kg amounts, and sold as low melt alloys

[Edited on 13-2-2004 by chemoleo]

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Ah... yes! Now I also remember. Bismuth is indeed used as a replacement for lead shotgun pellets in countries where the politocrats haven't realized that lead in pure form is NOT an environmental hazard. I know of only one such place: the US of A. Here, the politocrats are making laws to replace the lead with iron. Idiots. A gun barrel wouldn't like that after a thousand shots.....

Edit: Try a local gun store that deals in equipment for hand loading.

[Edited on 2004-2-14 by axehandle]

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rikkitikkitavi
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some lead/tin alloys for soldering and making of tin-caracters (I dont know the exact word, but you know the small figures all boys used to make when 12) contains Bi for lowering the melting point. Shouldnt be to hard to separate them chemically.

/rickard
hodges
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Electrolysis

If you really are intent on getting the bismuth from Pepto-Bismal, I would think electrolysis would do it. Sharpen both ends of two pencils. Connect the two pencils to a 6V lantern battery and dip the other ends in the Pepto-Bismal. Metal should form on the negative pencil lead.

Obviously, yields are not going to be too great, but if you just want to do it, it should work. I hear you can also prepare mercury from Mercurichrome (sp?) this way.
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If you just want a small piece of bismuth, check out shops that sell rocks and fossils. They sometime sell bismuth crystals.

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Geomancer
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Axehandle: Please check your facts before insulting people. Detrimental effects from the use of lead shot are well documented. Lead poisoning kills about 2-3 percent of the US waterfowl population annually. Moreover, lead containing waterfowl present a hazard to anything that eats them. Problems arising from sublethal doses have not been so well examined but undoubtedly exist. IIRC some indications are present of acccumulation in fish of lead from elemental sources, but I'm not sure of the details.
As regards your gun barrels, only the ignorant would let hard shot contact them in the first place. Use a shot cup.
Mr. Wizard
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Bismuth shot is a rather scarce item. I bought a box of shells from Cabela's and emptied out the shot. It is rather pricey. I was going to try some of the diamagnetic levitation tricks.
Tacho
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Thank you all!

I'm pretty sure I'll get some elemental bismuth soon using all these tips!

Hodges, to get it from pepto bimol, yours was a very good Idea. I just found out that adding some HCl to the thick pepto bismol emultion turns it into a clear colorless solution, ready to electrolisys. Ill try this Idea first. I was thinking of reduction with carbon at high temperatures, but that would be messy and, maybe, useless.

If my math is right, there is 5,7g of bismuth to every 10g of dry, pure subsalicylate.

Reagent grade elemental bismuth cost the equivalent of about 50 euros for 100g around here!

I want it because I'm curious about it's unique magnetic properties. It is reppelled by magnets.
Theoretic
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Heating it strongly should work. Organic heavy-metal salts decompose to the carbonate and then the carbonate decomposes to the oxide. The carbon that is made during the decomposition should then reduce the oxide, however I think there's going to be an excess of C, so the resulting metal isn't going to be very pure.
unionised
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IIRC you can reduce bismuth (III) compounds with tin(II) in alkaline solution.
Tacho
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If you basify the pepto bismol and dilute it 1:2 in water, the bismuth salt sediments.
If you acidify and pass through a sieve the sedimented salt, dilute in water, you end up with an almost clear solution.
I found out by accident that if you put a thick aluminum foil in this clear solution, dark gray powder precipitates from the foil.
A-ha! A reduction of bismuth by aluminum! Al reduction potential= -1,66, Bi red. pot.= -0,46 , 0,32 or 1,8. Well, I don’t know why Bi has 3 different potentials but they are all bigger than –1,66, so reduction by Al foil makes sense I guess... The only table I could find that had Bi in it is very confusing.

Well, then things started going wrong! I washed, filtered and dried this precipitate, but when I tried to melt it down, it didn’t. It smoked and glowed as if it were burning. Remained a black (not yellow as oxide and hydroxide should be) oxide-like thing, about 1cc of it. I tried to flux it with borax, but made things worse.

I would appreciate comments about this, specially opinions about if that precipitated could really be bismuth and, if so, what flux can I use to melt it to a nice shiny blob.
kaviaari
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Metallic bismuth from diarrhea medicine

This process might be quite well known.

I found out that certain diarrhea medicine contains over 0.5g of bismuth subsalicylate per pill. Every pack has the total of ten pills in it. First of all I thought that if I would like to take bismuth out as a metal I had to figure out how to dissolve it. First I tried 2M hydrochloric acid. The piece off pill only formed a white precipitate. I thought that if the bismuth subsalicylate had broken down to ions I could reduce the metal out with zinc. I took a piece of zinc sheet and dropped it into the tube. Hydrogen was formed but I didn't recieve the black bismuth precipitate. Ok, so I had to make a bismuth compound that dissolves easily to acid. It took a while, but then I came up with heat. If the salicylate could be turned to oxide. I went outside and heated the pills in a crucible. Some smoke came off and after few minutes I could clearly see some yellow spots of bismuth oxide. I turned off the heat and dosed few millilteres of 1M hydrochloric acid in a test tube. I poured the yellow-black-brown stuff from cucible among the acid. The tube was shaken and then left alone in hot water bath for few minutes. The organic stuff didn't dissolve so I filterated the solution in another tube. When I added the piece of zinc in I saw the most beautiful sight. The heavy bismuth was precipipating and falling at the very bottom of the tube. When all of the bismuth had reduced I filterated it.

The product is quite crude and one can see some impurities on it. Any ideas for purification? It would be neat to melt it and have those beautiful bismuth crystals.

[Edited on 23-12-2006 by kaviaari]

unionised
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Nice experiment.
I don't know how experienced you are in this sort of thing so I'm hesitant to say this but I have reduced bismuth from the oxide using charcoal with sodium hydroxide as a flux. Obviously the molten sodium hydoxide is very nasty stuff. It eats glass so I used an tin can as a cheap "crucible".
If you are sure you know what you are doing then this might be a suitable way to clean up the stuff you have. The NaOH will dissolve any zinc compounds. (I'm away visiting my family over Xmas and the new year so I won't be able to offer any advice until I get back.)
I wonder if anyone else has any experience with this sort of thing.
kaviaari
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That sounds very good. I'll convert all of my pills to oxide and then give it a try. I'll report the results as soon as I can.

[Edited on 23-12-2006 by kaviaari]

[Edited on 23-12-2006 by kaviaari]
JohnWW
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With such a supply of Bi-209, if you can then get your hands on some Ra-226 and Be-9 and intimately mix them to result in a neutron source, you can then make your own Po-210. You could then use this to poison any ex-KGB agents whom you dislike, or anyone else with whom you disagree.
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If you had that big a Ra226 source you could use it to poison people with rather than mess about making Polonium. Also, the neutron capture cross section of Bi is pretty small so you would need a serious neutron source. If you were going to embark on this pointless exercise then it would probably not be worth converting the Bi to the metal first.

Speaking of not converting it first, I think that heating the bi subsalicylate with excess NaOH would probably work anyway. The organic bits would act as a reducing agent. Just be very wary of the molten alkali and, of course, do it outside unles you have a propper fume hood.
(What's the weather like in Finland?)
kaviaari
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I am quite familiar with molten alkalies (I made sodium by electrolysis a while ago) and I have red bromicacids experinments too . It's not snowing or raining here in Finland (nor is here any snow) so I suppose that I can easily do the experiment outside. Of course a fume hood would be very nice . Problem is with the outlet. And when living with parents one can't just drill a hole in the wall. My lab is also getting too small in every possible way. Chemicals and glassware are eating up space and I have no idea where I am going to place the rotary vaporator that I'm going to recieve after new year.

[Edited on 23-12-2006 by kaviaari]
unionised
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"And when living with parents one can't just drill a hole in the wall. My lab is also getting too small in every possible way."
I know what you mean, I live alone and have my own house. I still don't have enough space.
(BTW, at the risk of sounding very English and talking about the weather, would you normally expect to have snow by late December. We have had a remarkably warm Autumn/ Winter so far and I wonder how widespread it is.
kaviaari
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 Quote: (BTW, at the risk of sounding very English and talking about the weather, would you normally expect to have snow by late December. We have had a remarkably warm Autumn/ Winter so far and I wonder how widespread it is.

True. In normal winters we would have snow by late December, and to speak truly so did we have this time too. It snowed a lot, I mean a lot in just few days and after that it all melted away. From there we haven't had much snow.

Shall we blame the global warming?
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We also have a remarkably warm autumn and winter. Over here in the Netherlands, we had more than 20 C in October, and up to now, we didn't have a single day of frosty weather!

But back on topic, I have some basic bismuth nitrate. I did some experiments with reducing that, but it seems it does not work. The basic nitrate needs a strongly acidic environment to keep the bismuth dissolved and under those conditions, the metal seems not to precipitate (too much nitrate in it?).

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UnintentionalChaos
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It's depressingly warm here in the Northeastern US. It's warm enough to be outside without any jacket (although I wear tee-shirts year round anyway). It was freezing cold for most of october and part of november, but It's quite warm now. At least I can do some of my experiments outside later than I thought I would

I'm with you Kaviaari and Unionized. I've consumed my father's workbench in the garage (not that he uses it too often anyway) and have absolutely no way to vent fumes. I have to go outside for that kind of thing.

I think I may have some of those pills around so I may have to try this...now for my minor acid problem, and by minor, I mean extremely irritating. I'd just distill HCl drain cleaner but I don't have anywhere near the proper setup. I'd end up eating a hole in something.
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Guys,

I am pretty sure there is an easier way to extract metallic bismuth from diarrhea medicine...the liquid type(Pepto-Bismol and friends). I have a book at home that describes this exact experiment in which you add freshly prepared sodium stannate solution to the pepto-bismol and you get a fine black suspension of bismuth in the syrup. If diluted with water and filtered, bismuth powder can be obtained. It’s a high school chem. demonstration/lab from a teacher's book.

I am not at home right now so I can't recall the experiment very well. Maybe you can find it on the web somewhere, good luck!

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