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Bismuth is one of the post-transition metals (the pnictogens), with chemical properties that are between those of its lighter group 15 sibling antimony and heavier parent lead. It is a brittle, silvery-white, crystalline metal that, with surface oxidation, displays a rosy tinge. It is the most naturally diamagnetic metal and has one of the lowest values of thermal conductivity of any metal. It also has the highest Hall effect of any metal.
It is less reactive than most of the transition metals, but can form a wide range of compounds with other elements and nonmetals. It reacts with tin and cadmium to form low-melting alloys used in fusible links for fire detectors and extinguishers, electric fuses and solders. It is also used in malleable irons, steels for free machining and in the isostatic lead-bismuth eutectic (LBE) that is an alternative to leaded solder for nuclear reactors. It has unusually low toxicity for a heavy metal, although some of its compounds can be toxic in high doses.
American Elements has increased its capacity to produce bismuth carbide and other bismuth-related materials. These include bismuth sputtering targets, bismuth rod and pellets, and bismuth nitrate. The company also produces bismuth thin film coating materials for evaporation and deposition. The materials are available in many standard grades when applicable, including Mil Spec; ACS, Reagent and Technical Grade; Food, Agricultural and Pharmaceutical Grade; and more.