Pepto Bismuth
March 3, 2013 4:07 PM   Subscribe

 
That's easily the most attractive chemical reaction I've seen today.
posted by brokkr at 4:17 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


What was the block of material that was added after the first filtering of the acid solution?
posted by idiopath at 4:19 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Breaking Neutral.

Very nice film. Anyone know what the music was?
posted by codswallop at 4:20 PM on March 3, 2013


The next step is to crystalize the bismuth.
posted by eye of newt at 4:21 PM on March 3, 2013 [9 favorites]


I wonder whose idea it was at first to say, "Let's extract some bismuth and consume it. Maybe it will be non-poisonously tasty, or do some good." AND IT DID!
posted by mreleganza at 4:23 PM on March 3, 2013


I'm kind of disappointed they didn't explain any of the chemistry, but I found a good summary here.
posted by crapmatic at 4:28 PM on March 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


Check out her previous video where she runs 15,000 volts through a sheet of plywood.
posted by tommyD at 4:32 PM on March 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


The top ad link for me was:

Explosive diarrhea?
Improve your digestive system using this one natural supplement!
posted by 445supermag at 4:39 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Of course, you could just buy some bismuth shot, but that wouldn't be any fun.
posted by sfred at 4:40 PM on March 3, 2013


What was the block of material that was added after the first filtering of the acid solution?

I'm betting it was aluminium foil.
posted by peacheater at 4:46 PM on March 3, 2013


that's interesting, i use almost exactly the same process when i freebase my morning coffee
posted by facetious at 4:50 PM on March 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


Yes, probably aluminum. The (very) basic chemistry is that pepto bismol is bismuth salicylate. When she put the muriatic acid into it, it separated the bismuth molecules from the salicylate molecules, which precipitated out. After filtering this, you are left with muriatic acid, bismuth molecules, water and other assorted stuff like pink food coloring.

Then you put the aluminum in there. This creates a sort of battery effect (acid + two dissimilar metals) which causes the bismuth to either precipitate out as straight metal, or possibly as a salt/ore like bismuth oxide. This is then melted down, or in the case of the ore, the heat causes the ore to release its non bismuth component and leaves you with straight bismuth.
posted by gjc at 5:01 PM on March 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the perciptate.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:08 PM on March 3, 2013 [22 favorites]


Well this explains "black tongue".
posted by Brocktoon at 5:14 PM on March 3, 2013


Black tongue? Or black poo, if you take too much P-B.
posted by mrbill at 5:16 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


The color of my poo is none of your bismuth!

(Seriously, great video(s))
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:21 PM on March 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Love the plywood, sheets treated this way would make great decorations. Any idea how she did it?
posted by LarryC at 5:32 PM on March 3, 2013


Check out her previous video where she runs 15,000 volts through a sheet of plywood.

Playing 'Ride of the Valkyries' over that video was deeply satisfying.
posted by averageamateur at 5:37 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


After spending four hours writing up a lab (still not done) and despairing over my uncertainty values, this makes chemistry a little better.
What gas is produced that a gas mask must be worn for the reaction?
posted by Just Another Entity at 5:39 PM on March 3, 2013


Probably the HCl vapours from the muriatic acid. HCl is quite volatile and not a nice thing to inhale.
posted by beepbeepboopboop at 5:51 PM on March 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've tested this reaction as a potential lab for my classes, and it really is simple as falling off a log if you have any lab experience at all. I got a nice little vial of bismuth for my trouble, but haven't bothered to record a yield (what kind of half-assed scientist am I, anyway?).

In terms of the chemistry, this is a very simple reaction: aluminum--despite appearances--is actually incredibly reactive. The reason you can still make stuff from it is because it very rapidly gets coated with a hard and unreactive layer of aluminum oxide. However, aluminum is quite happy to donate electrons to darn near anything, which is what you're taking advantage of here.

Random bismuth facts: it is actually radioactive, but with a half-life so absurdly long as to be functionally non-radioactive. I like to pass it around to my students before telling them that it's radioactive, just to get a few worried looks. While you can make your own pretty crystals of it, they never come out as nice as the manufactured ones, which I've been told are made under fairly secretive conditions (the principles of making those crystals is well understood, but the engineering is a separate problem).
posted by Dr.Enormous at 5:54 PM on March 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


...haven't bothered to record a yield...

This was exactly my question. That looks like a LOT of bismuth from a few pills.
posted by DU at 6:00 PM on March 3, 2013


Apparently in Belgium bismuth salicylate is no longer available as a medicine. When I took an empty bottle of Pepto-Bismol to a pharmacy in Brussels to try and pick some more up (or at least more of something similar), I was told they can't sell "bismuth salts" anymore. Looking this up, I learned that apparently there were some cases where people developed Encephalopathy from using bismuth-related medication and they have since been pulled from the market in Europe and Australia (French-language link).
posted by dhens at 6:23 PM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


In my mind the Elder Thing city from Mountains of Madness looks like bismuth crystals.
posted by Artw at 6:29 PM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Such a strange disparity between the lab glassware and the bottle of HCl purchased from a hardware store in the form of 'muriatic acid.'
posted by yellowcandy at 6:34 PM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Such a strange disparity between the lab glassware and the bottle of HCl purchased from a hardware store in the form of 'muriatic acid.'

Soon the government will require "muriatic acid" to be adulterated in some way to make it impossible to perform science experiments like this, because terrorists and stuff.
posted by localroger at 7:05 PM on March 3, 2013


it is actually radioactive, but with a half-life so absurdly long as to be functionally non-radioactive.

That I did not know. I guess it's comforting to know that most of the bismuth atoms passing through my gut will still be intact when the last star in the universe has winked out, even if their protons only have another 10^20 years left.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:05 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like to pass it around to my students before telling them that it's radioactive, just to get a few worried looks.

Reminds me of the time my 8th grade science teacher passed around the paper sack full of uranium. Then we played with it and polaroid film. Good times.
posted by gjc at 7:28 PM on March 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Polaroid film?!? It's a wonder you're still with us as a functioning member of society.
posted by radwolf76 at 7:55 PM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


That was very nicely shot. I kind of forgot it was a series of chemical reactions after a while. The plywood one was good too, it reminded me of slow motion captures of lightning leaders reaching ground.
posted by carter at 8:04 PM on March 3, 2013


Reminds me of the time my 8th grade science teacher passed around the paper sack full of uranium.

Aw, lucky! All we got to pass around was a big chunk of asbestos and a few drops of mercury. (I'm not even kidding. And this was in the nineteen-nineties.)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:28 PM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


The red liquid looked like fermenting malinova! Now I must fight the urge to make malinova!
The resulting crystals were lovely, like fused glass.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:13 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm off to Costco tomorrow to buy industrial-sized containers of generic Pepto-Bismol and concrete cleaner and see if I can scale this up enough to grow some monster sized bismuth crystals! I can use my stainless steel turkey fryer setup for heat; I'll post the video if it works out. If not watch the Darwin awards for my name.
posted by TedW at 9:22 PM on March 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


OK, Google fails me and I can't be the only one wondering, what exactly is malinova?
posted by TedW at 9:27 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]




This was wonderful — thanks for posting this.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:03 AM on March 4, 2013


TedW: "OK, Google fails me and I can't be the only one wondering, what exactly is malinova?"
Malinova just means raspberry, so I think we need KaRoq to specify exactly what kind of drink s/he's thinking of making. Here's a Malinová rozkoš cocktail. Here's a "raspberry café liègois".
posted by brokkr at 1:44 AM on March 4, 2013


Beat me to it, brokkr.
Here are some nice malinovy sirup pictures.
posted by Twang at 1:55 AM on March 4, 2013


Did the state of the glassware make anybody else cringe?
posted by Dr Dracator at 4:45 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyone know what the music was?

Villa-Lobos Scottish Choro
posted by sagwalla at 5:13 AM on March 4, 2013


Does anyone know where I can get some nice bismuth crystal desktop wallpapers? A google image search turns up mostly disappointingly small images that would be all blurry if stretched.
posted by Jpfed at 5:15 AM on March 4, 2013


Aw, lucky! All we got to pass around was a big chunk of asbestos and a few drops of mercury. (I'm not even kidding. And this was in the nineteen-nineties.)

My high school chemistry teacher was crafty about it. He set a bowl of mercury on a table and then announced: "I'm leaving the room and will be coming back in five minutes. Exactly five minutes by that clock on the wall. Mercury is very dangerous and I expect all of you to be seated when I return."

This is in contrast to my high school biology teacher who, after receiving a quip about his hair, offered every young man in class an unsolicited, split-second, personalized prediction of whether he would eventually suffer from male-pattern baldness.
posted by compartment at 7:14 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


we need KaRoq to specify exactly what kind of drink s/he's thinking of making

It's a kind of Kvass apparently.
posted by dhruva at 7:34 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


hitler was SO pissed when the royal navy sunk the bismuth.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 8:47 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


A neat thing about bismuth is that it is diamagnetic -- magnets are repelled by a piece of bismuth. Bismuth is, in fact, the most diamagnetic material known. The effect can be used to set up some pretty cool effects.
posted by TwoToneRow at 8:52 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


You can tell that they're not really a chemist. They went way overboard with the safety equipment. All I would wear for doing that is just some safety glasses. The gas given off is CO2 from the various cabonates present in solid peptos. They should have used the liquid stuff because that has less carbonates. If only bismuth was more useful I could see myself giving this a try.
posted by koolkat at 1:27 PM on March 4, 2013


They went way overboard with the safety equipment. All I would wear for doing that is just some safety glasses.

Isn't muriatic acid the one for dissolving corpses in barrels? I'm no WHMIS inspector, but, um, I'm thinking you might want some gloves, dude.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:09 PM on March 5, 2013


Plain nitrile gloves are ok, the heavy duty ones in the video are probably overkill, and too bulky for many tasks. A fume cupboard would be a much more appropriare safety measure, but is also much less convenient for filming.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:42 PM on March 5, 2013


It was hydroflouric acid in the infamous Breaking Bad scene. (Flourine is more reactive than the chlorine in muriatic aka hydrochloric acid.) IRL sodium hydroxide (lye) works even better, is a lot easier to get, but doesn't attack as many materials as HF.
posted by localroger at 4:04 PM on March 5, 2013


Muriatic Acid is Hydrochloric Acid. I don't know what strength you can buy it but it looks like the same stuff you can buy from a chemical supplier (ie 37.5 % HCl aqueous solution). It really isn't that bad to get on your hand provided you wash it off quickly. Wearing gloves constantly is a good way to contaminate things that you don't want contaminated, especially if you're wearing the really think gloves and not just the thin disposable ones. Also you're much more likely to spill something when you don't have as good of a grip because you're wearing over-thick gloves. By far the easiest way to stay safe is to not spill things around. I've worked in a lab for 13 years and have only spilled HCl on my hands once. Working with dangerous fluids you get really good at pouring things carefully. I would wear gloves when using HF, but that is because even a small amount of HF would kill you even if you washed it off. They really put on the safety equipment to make it look dangerous and exciting and because they wanted to show themselves doing SCIENCE (tm) and not because any of it is actually necessary. It would be great if it got people thinking more about science and more interested in chemistry but I am betting that there would be more responses about how there are chemicals than can be turned into metal in pepto and how it must be bad for you because of the chemicals.
posted by koolkat at 4:32 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


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