Bismuth chloride

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Bismuth chloride
IUPAC name
Bismuth chloride
Other names
Bismuth trichloride
Bismuth(III) chloride
Molar mass 315.34 g/mol
Appearance White crystalline solid, hygroscopic
Odor Odorless
Density 4.75 g/cm3
Melting point 227 °C (441 °F; 500 K)
Boiling point 447 °C (837 °F; 720 K)
Solubility Soluble in acetone, diethyl ether, methanol, THF
Slightly soluble in toluene
-1.202 kJ/g
Safety data sheet Sigma-Aldrich
Flash point Non-flammable
Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):
3,324 mg/kg (rat, oral)
Related compounds
Related compounds
Antimony(III) chloride
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Infobox references

Bismuth chloride (also called bismuth(III) chloride or bismuth trichloride) is a chemical compound with the chemical formula BiCl3, a colorless hygroscopic solid, which readily hydrolyzes in moist air.

Since bismuth(V) chloride doesn't exist, the name bismuth(III) chloride is not always used nor required.



Bismuth chloride readily hydrolyzes in moist air, forming bismuth oxychloride and hydrochloric acid. BiCl3 hydrolyzes slower than its antimony equivalent, it takes more than 1 minute for any signs of visible hydrolysis in open air.


Bismuth chloride is a hygroscopic colorless compound, which reacts with water, but is soluble in organic solvents, like diethyl ether, dioxane and THF.


Bismuth chloride is sold by chemical suppliers, though it's not cheap.


Can be prepared by reacting bismuth metal with concentrated hydrochloric acid. Recrystallization should be done from conc. HCl to limit hydrolysis. A water-free route involves reacting bismuth metal with chlorine gas.

The crude bismuth trichloride obtained is purified by subliming it under vacuum above 200 °C and condensing it on a cold finger. Use a cold trap to prevent corrosive HCl and BiCl3 fumes from getting sucked up in the pump and destroying it.


  • Make bismuth metal
  • Make organobismuth compounds



Bismuth chloride is very corrosive and contact with unprotected skin will cause severe dermatitis. It will also stain most types of gloves.


Bismuth chloride should be kept in air tight containers. Schlenk flasks filled with argon are ideal for storage.


Bismuth chloride can be either neutralized with a base, then taken to a waste disposal center or you can reduce it with zinc or aluminium metal to metallic bismuth, which can be recycled, as bismuth is not something often encountered.


  • Mabus - personal experience with the stuff; it's pretty nasty to work with and without a glovebox or Schlenk line it's extremely difficult to do any kind of reactions.

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