Bismuth subcarbonate

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Bismuth subcarbonate
CAS number 5892-10-4
PubChem 16683095
Molecular formula Bi2O2(CO3)
Molar mass 509.9685 g/mol
Appearance fine white to pale yellow-white powder
Density 6.86 g/cm3
Boiling point decomposes
Solubility in water insoluble
NFPA 704
Flammability code 0: Will not burn. E.g., water Health code 1: Exposure would cause irritation but only minor residual injury. E.g., turpentine Reactivity code 0: Normally stable, even under fire exposure conditions, and is not reactive with water. E.g., liquid nitrogen Special hazards (white): no codeNFPA 704 four-colored diamond
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)
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Infobox references

Bismuth subcarbonate Bi2O2(CO3), sometimes written (BiO)2CO3 is a chemical compound of bismuth containing both oxide and carbonate anions. Bismuth is in the +3 oxidation state. Bismuth subcarbonate occurs naturally as the mineral bismutite. Its structure[1] consists of Bi-O layers and CO3 layers and is related to kettnerite, CaBi(CO3)OF. It is light sensitive.


It is highly radiopaque and for example is used as a filler in radiopaque catheters which can be seen by x-ray.[2] In modern medicine, bismuth subcarbonate has been made into nanotube arrays that exhibit antibacterial properties.[3] It is also used in fireworks [4] to make Dragon's eggs. It is a constituent of milk of bismuth which was a popular digestive tract panacea in the 1930s[5]


Bismuth subcarbonate may be harmful if swallowed. It may irritate the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract.


  1. ^ Joel D. Grice (2002). "A Solution to the crystal structures of bismutite and beyerite". The Canadian Mineralogist 40 (2): 693–698. doi:10.2113/gscanmin.40.2.693. 
  2. ^ Flexible, highly radiopaque plastic material catheter - Patent 5300048
  3. ^ Rong Chen, Man Ho So, Jun Yang, Feng Deng, Chi-Ming Che and Hongzhe Sun (2006). "Fabrication of bismuth subcarbonate nanotube arrays from bismuth citrate". Chem. Commun. (21): 2265–2267. doi:10.1039/b601764a. PMID 16718324. 
  4. ^ How To Make Cheaper Crackling Firework Stars (Dragon Eggs) With Bismuth Subcarbonate
  5. ^ Park & Davis Co catalog entry for milk of bismuth

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