Bismuth nitrate

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White, heavy, slightly hygroscopic powder. Bismuth subnitrate, also known as bismuth white, is used as a white pigment in cosmetics, ceramic glazes, surface coatings, and enamels.

Synonyms and Related Terms

bismuth white (AAT); nitrato de bismuto (Esp., Port.); nitrate de bismuth (Fr.); nitrato di bismuto (It.); magistry of bismuth; pearl powder; pearl white; Spanish white; Bouvigal white; bismuth subnitrate; basic bismuth nitrate; bismuth oxynitrate; paint white


  • Inhalation and contact may cause mild irritation.
  • Ingestion may cause discomfort.
  • Chronic ingestion may cause black spots on gums and bad breath.
  • ThermoFisher: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in acid. Insoluble in ethanol, water.

Composition 4BiNO3(OH)2 - BiO(OH)
CAS 1304-85-4
Melting Point 260 C (dec)
Density 4.928 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 1461.99

Resources and Citations

  • R.D. Harley, Artists' Pigments c. 1600-1835, Butterworth Scientific, London, 1982
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Susan E. Schur, Conservation Terminology: A review of Past & Current Nomenclature of Materials, Technology and Conservation, Spring (p.34-39); Summer (p.35-38); Fall (p.25-36), 1985
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: Entry # 1311