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Author: Subject: Bismuth from its Subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol®)
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[*] posted on 3-11-2012 at 08:58
Lead-free fishing tackle


If you simply want bismuth, scout out lead-free sinkers.

Some are technical bismuth. Others are alloyed with tin and/or antimony.
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[*] posted on 3-11-2012 at 09:05


Ah, I logged in just to say you can isolate it with a blowtorch. So much for that!
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[*] posted on 23-6-2013 at 14:20
Bismuth (trioxide?) from Pepto Bismol


I'm sure most people have heard of the process to isolate bismuth metal from Pepto Bismol - if not, here's TheChemLife's video on it.

I tried it out this weekend. I wanted to take the black powder at the end and melt it down into a lump of metal. Every time I heat the powder, though, it turns yellow instead! I'm thinking this must be bismuth(III) oxide. I tried redissolving this yellow powder in HCl, reprecipitating with aluminum, and heating again (this time with better rinsing of the precipitate); the same yellow powder resulted.

Looking at Theodore Gray's pictures of his preparation, he did exactly the same thing I am doing but obtained shiny metal at the end. Any ideas as to why mine would oxidize instead of melting? What needs to be done to get a solid piece of bismuth metal from this?
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[*] posted on 23-6-2013 at 16:06


Mr., particulate lead shows the same results. The problem is the lead powder is so horryfingly powdered is oxidizes in the presence of air!!
Or perhaps you just bought some head-glue placebos due to similar problems I had when extracting silver from x-ray plates.
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[*] posted on 23-6-2013 at 17:12


Try a cover flux. Regular soldering flux should do the trick (usually a combination of pine rosins, petroleum jelly or mineral oil, and zinc chloride for the acid varieties), though even mineral oil would help in a pinch. Make sure it's dry, and for that matter, make sure it dries out without oxidizing too much -- perhaps starting with the moist cake, wash it with acetone (to remove water), then toluene (to remove acetone, and to get a lipophilic liquid phase), then disperse it in mineral oil. If it stays floating in the oil even at melting point, try draining (or boiling or burning!) some off and adding some rosin. Just be careful, of course, that if you burn some off, that soot doesn't get inside and make things harder.

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[*] posted on 23-6-2013 at 17:40


what about borax for flux? works for a lot of things and readily available.
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[*] posted on 23-6-2013 at 17:42


Good stuff, but too high an activation temperature. Barely molten by aluminum temperatures (not that it does any good on aluminum!), but excellent for copper and friends.

Tim




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[*] posted on 24-6-2013 at 12:01


What about just heating over a gentle stream of argon or nitrogen?



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[*] posted on 24-6-2013 at 17:34


Maybe you got it too hot when you tried to melt it.
In the comments section of TheChemlife's video he says
" i have tried to melt it down but bismuth is a testy metal. to hot and it turns into the oxide instead of melting so all i have left is yellow bismuth oxide."
Maybe the same thing happened to you.


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[*] posted on 24-6-2013 at 19:11


Quote: Originally posted by Hexavalent  
What about just heating over a gentle stream of argon or nitrogen?


Well la-de-da, why don't we just vacuum purge it in an induction furnace too? :D

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[*] posted on 24-6-2013 at 21:01


Quote: Originally posted by 12AX7  
Well la-de-da, why don't we just vacuum purge it in an induction furnace too?
Because what this problem really needs is an e-beam melter to get fine control over the melt zone.

Why stop at 5 figure equipment when 7 figure equipment will do?
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[*] posted on 25-6-2013 at 04:09


Just a heavy duty flux should work wonders here.



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[*] posted on 25-6-2013 at 10:58


If bismuth shouldn't form metallic alloys with zinc, why not then use zinc as a tapper?
As what I've seen lead forms alloys with zinc but at solidifying temperatures the zinc will precipitate up on top, that might just save your samples!
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[*] posted on 25-6-2013 at 18:49


Indeed, the phase diagram shows no solid solubility (or very little at least -- under 1%), and little miscibility in the liquids. Note, however, that any Zn crystallizing in the Bi solution won't magically float out, it will remain as a slush (much as NaCl isn't 100% soluble in water and forms a slush when supersaturated), which you'd have to filter somehow.

ZnCl2 should be a fine flux also (a primary ingredient in 'acid' soldering flux).

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biggrin.gif posted on 4-7-2013 at 06:32


I did this same experiment over the past weekend, and i was able to obtain a small amount of the elusive bismuth. when i applied heat the black powder it turn yellow like yours. so i continued to heat in til it glowed red and was partially liquified. After heating and cooling a few times i noticed what looked like air bubbles forming in the molten liquid, turns out this is the bismuth. i was only able to obtain .7 grams of bismuth out of my 7.2 gram "slug". i can still see more bismuth precipitating out of the slug when i heat it but it is in very small portions and i don't know how to separate it out.


I did the experiment with 60 pills. My yield should of been greater than 7.2 grams but it was dropped once before weighing.

Slug.jpg - 147kB bismuth.jpg - 176kB
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[*] posted on 20-8-2013 at 12:54


Quote: Originally posted by 12AX7  
Try a cover flux. Regular soldering flux should do the trick (usually a combination of pine rosins, petroleum jelly or mineral oil, and zinc chloride for the acid varieties), though even mineral oil would help in a pinch.


Well mineral oil is a bust - it boils at far too low of a temperature. I placed my Bi powder in a crucible, covered it with the oil, and started heating. Within 30 seconds the oil started to boil. I kept heating it, to make sure it wasn't dissolved water - it's definitely the oil boiling. Sort of obvious in retrospect...

So next attempt will use zinc chloride. It melts at a higher temperature than bismuth, so I would need to melt it first and then add the bismuth powder. Perhaps melt the salt in one crucible first, and pour this on top of the bismuth in another crucible? This would avoid the powder sitting on top of the molten salt and remaining exposed to the air.
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[*] posted on 1-10-2013 at 21:44
Extracting Bismuth From Pepto-Bismol


Hi
for those who is looking for Bismuth
here a good protocol i have found

http://www.popsci.com/diy/gallery/2012-07/gallery-extracting...

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[*] posted on 1-10-2013 at 22:43


Quote: Originally posted by nelsonB  
Hi
for those who is looking for Bismuth
here a good protocol i have found

http://www.popsci.com/diy/gallery/2012-07/gallery-extracting...


I believe this has been discussed ad nauseum on this board already...




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[*] posted on 2-10-2013 at 03:09


I don;t want to be an ass but UTFSE
http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=1527&a...
This has a link to a video insid the thread..
(I isolated some bismuth last week)




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[*] posted on 2-3-2014 at 10:24
Metallic bismuth from Pepto-Bismol


Hello! A while back I extracted some elemental bismuth from Pepto-Bismol using the hydrochloric acid and aluminum foil method. I ended up with a black powder, and since then I've been attempting to melt it down to obtain a blob of the actual metal, without success. On my first attempt I used a propane torch to heat it in a crucible, and it quickly oxidized to a yellowish bismuth(III) oxide. I next tried heating the bismuth on a stove, and depending on the temperature, I either got more oxidation or nothing at all. I think there's a very narrow temperature window between the melting point and the oxidation temperature, and I'm not sure how to get it. I have seen a few accounts of people successfully melting it down, so I know it is possible, but I'm not sure what I can do. Has anyone else successfully done this? Or might a bismuth oxide thermite be a better method? Thank you!
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[*] posted on 2-3-2014 at 10:35


Both MrHomeScientist and I ran into this problem. Neither of us was able to get an ingot. You could try reducing with carbon (carbothermic reduction). A thermite would be messy.



As below, so above.
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[*] posted on 2-3-2014 at 12:36


Because the BP of bismuth (1564 C) is well below the MP of alumina (2072 C) aluminothermy ('thermite') isn't going to work here, or only with very low yields.

Prolonged heating (around 1000 C or higher) of a mixture of bismuth trioxide and an excess of fine carbon should work but it would takes time, depending largely on temperature...




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