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Bismuth in tubing


#1

Is bismuth safe to handle and does it give off any toxic fumes or
residues on contact with skin? How do you store it?

Thanks for info.
Donna


#2

I just looked up the MSDS and it says you should not breath the dust.
But it is not listed as particularly harmful It is a lot less toxic
than copper.

Jim


#3
    Is bismuth safe to handle and does it give off any toxic fumes
or residues on contact with skin?  How do you store it? 

Firstly I think there has been a little confusion here; what I think
folk are talking about is not just bismuth metal but various alloys
containing bismuth which have very low melting points; of which
Wood’s Metal is a famous one: tin 1 part, lead 2; cadmium 1; bismuth
4. which melts at 60.5�C - hand hot water! Bismuth metal melts at
271�C. Woods Metal when placed in a beaker of hot water, runs and
looks exactly like mercury. The word ‘toxic’ or ‘poisonous’ is simply
another name for ‘too much.’ For instance medicines containing bismuth
(usually in the form of a carbonate) were taken internally for
indigestion. Like anything else; too much will make you very ill and
even kill you. Lead and cadmium salts are poisonous in very small
amounts, tin is pretty innocuous, but again the ingestion of a large
amount won’t do you any good at all. None of the metals I mention
here produce toxic fumes at room temperature, including Wood’s Metal,
but continuous or very prolonged contact with them may cause harm.
All of the metals above may be stored simply in reasonably dry
conditions, and may be handled safely for short periods. Some of the
uses for Woods Metal and similar alloys, some perhaps with slightly
higher higher melting points are commonly used in what are called
’fusible links’. That is they act as fairly low temperature fuses in
some electrical and other goods, melting and breaking an electrical
circuit if the temperature rises too high. Many domestic electric
heaters and even motors used to contain such safety fuses. These days
it is done electronically or mechanically Where can you buy Woods
Metal? The only type of place I know of which sells such things are
scientific supply houses. Or perhaps Edmund’s Scientific on the Net.
But my own opinion is, why go to such trouble? A small thin walled
PROPERLY ANNEALED tube can just as easily be filled with a wax, the
ends clenched or otherwise sufficiently closed, and the bending
proceeded with. Furthermore a low temperature (melting) alloy like
Wood’s Metal would alloy with gold silver, copper, brass, etc, exactly
as a lead based plumber’s solder does - and would you want that? Cheers
– John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ


#4

Furthermore a low temperature (melting) alloy like Wood’s Metal would
alloy with gold silver, copper, brass, etc, exactly as a lead based
plumber’s solder does - and would you want that?

John,

As long as you oil the inner surface of the tube and only use hot

water to melt the fusible metal there is little chance of alloying.
However if you use a torch or other high heat source to heat the tube
you definitely can solder the fusible metal to the tube you have
bent.

Jim

James Binnion Metal Arts
4701 San Leandro St #18
Oakland, CA 94601
Phone (510) 533-5108
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (510) 533-5439


@James_Binnion