Bismuth, in elemental, alloyed, or chemical compound forms has numerous applications1:
- Bismuth has also been used in solders. The fact that bismuth and many of its alloys expand slightly when they solidify make them ideal for this purpose.1
- Many bismuth alloys have low melting points and are widely used for fire detection and suppression system safety devices.
- In the early 1990s, research began to evaluate bismuth as a nontoxic replacement for lead in various applications.
- As noted above, bismuth has been used in solders; its low toxicity will be especially important for solders to be used in food processing equipment and copper water pipes.
- Bismuth compounds are used in cosmetics, medicines, and in medical procedures. As the toxicity of lead has become more apparent in recent years, alloy uses for bismuth metal as a replacement for lead have become an increasing part of bismuth's commercial importance.
- Elemental bismuth is one of very few substances of which the liquid phase is denser than its solid phase (water being the best-known example). Because bismuth expands on freezing, it was long an important component of low-melting typesetting alloys, which needed to expand to fill printing molds.
- Bismuth is used as an alloying agent in production of malleable irons.
- Bismuth is used as a dense material for fishing sinkers.1
- Bismuth is used as a replacement for lead in shot and bullets. The UK, U.S., and many other countries now prohibit the use of lead shot for the hunting of wetland birds, as many birds are prone to lead poisoning due to mistaken ingestion of lead (instead of small stones and grit) to aid digestion. Bismuth-tin alloy shot is one alternative that provides similar ballistic performance to lead. (Another less expensive but also more poorly performing alternative is "steel" shot, which is actually soft iron.). Bismuth core bullets are also starting to appear for use in indoor shooting ranges, where fine particles of lead from bullets impacting the backstop can be a chronic toxic inhalant problem. Owing to bismuth's crystalline nature, the bismuth bullets shatter into a non-toxic powder on impact, making recovery and recycling easy. The lack of malleability does, however, make bismuth unsuitable for use in expanding hunting bullets.1
Indium Corporation engineers are eager to discuss your application or requirement. Send your bismuth inquiry now.
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Some alloys that melt below 300° Celsius are used for applications other than joining two surfaces.
Low temperature alloys have a number of applications, including step soldering and interconnection of molded components. Additionally, its thermal and electrical conductivity make it attractive for bonding and heat transfer.
Expansion during cooling is a property of low-temperature alloys that can be very useful.
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