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Bismuth Trichloride Formula – Structure, Properties, Uses, Sample Questions

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  • Last Updated : 23 Aug, 2022
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Bismuth is a chemical element with the symbol Its atomic number is 83. It is a high-density, silvery, pink-tinged metal. It is the most diamagnetic of all metals. Bismuth oxide is a yellow pigment that is widely used for cosmetics and paints. Its compounds have been used extensively as medicines. It comes under a class of medications called antibacterial agents. Elemental bismuth is nontoxic but bismuth salts can cause toxicity.

Chlorine is a chemical element with the symbol Its atomic number is 17. It is a toxic corrosive greenish-yellow gas that is irritating to the eyes and to the respiratory system. It is the second lightest of the halogens it appears between fluorine and bromine in the periodic table. Chlorine is used as a bleaching agent. It was discovered by Carl  Wilhelm Scheele in 1774.

Bismuth Trichloride

Bismuth Trichloride is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula BiCl3. It is a covalent compound. It is a colorless hygroscopic solid. It is also known as trichloro bismuth and bismuth chloride. It has Bismuth and chloride ions in it. It is obtained by reacting bismuth with chlorine. It’s a decent source of bismuth and is used to form other bismuth compounds.

Structure Of  Bismuth trichloride

Let’s do the Lewis structure for BiCl3.Bismuth has 5 valance electrons and chlorine has 7 valance electrons here we have 3 chlorine atoms so total valance electrons are 5+7(3) = 26. We’ll put Boron at the center and then let’s put the Chlorines around it, there are three of them. The structure looks like this below

Structure Of Bismuth TriChloride

Preparation Of Bismuth Trichloride

  • It can be produced by the reaction between bismuth and chlorine 

3 Cl2 + 2 Bi ——> 2 BiCl3 

  • Hydrochloric acid reacts with bismuth pentoxide to form bismuth trichloride along with water and chlorine

10 HCl + Bi2O5 —–> 5 H2O + 2 Cl2 + 2 BiCl3 

  • Sodium Chloride reacts with bismuth nitrate to form sodium nitrate and bismuth chloride 

3 NaCl + Bi(NO3)3 —-> 3 NaNO3 + BiCl3

  • Hydrochloric acid reacts with potassium bismuthate to produce bismuth trichloride

6 HCl + KBiO3 —–> 3 H2O + Cl2 + KCl +BiCl3

Physical Properties Of Bismuth Trichloride

  • Bismuth Trichloride molecular weight is 315.34 g/mol
  • Its boiling point is 447οC
  • Its melting point is 230 to 232οC

Chemical Properties Of Bismuth trichloride

  • Bismuth Trichloride chemical formula is BiCl3
  • Bismuth Trichloride reacts with tin dichloride to form tin tetrachloride and bismuth

3 SnCl2 + 2 BiCl3 ——–> 3 SnCl4 + 2 Bi

  • Hydrogen Sulfide reacts with bismuth trichloride to form hydrochloric acid and bismuth sulfide

3 H2S + 2 BiCl3 —–> 6 HCl + Bi2S3 

  • Tin Chloride reacts with Bismuth trichloride to produce tin tetrachloride and bismuth

BiCl3 + SnCl ——-> SnCl4 + Bi

  • Bismuth trichloride reacts with nitric acid and water to form hydrochloric acid and bismuth oxynitrate

H2O + HNO3 + BiCl3 —–> 3 HCl + BiONO3

Uses Of Bismuth trichloride

  • Bismuth trichloride is used as a catalyst in organic synthesis
  • It is used to produce other bismuth salts
  • It is used for chemical processes 
  • It is used for the Allylation of secondary benzyl alcohols

Health Effects

  • Bismuth trichloride  can cause eye irritation
  • It can cause respiratory tract irritation
  • It can cause headaches, coughing, and wheezing
  • It may be harmful if absorbed through the skin
  • It can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • It may cause irritation of the digestive tract

FAQs based on Bismuth Trichloride

Question 1: What is the reaction of Bismuth Trichloride with Potassium Iodide?


Bismuth trichloride is an inorganic compound. It reacts with potassium iodide to produce potassium chloride and bismuth III iodide

3KI + BiCl3 ———> 3 KCl +BiI3

Question 2: Is Bismuth Trichloride soluble in water?


Bismuth trichloride is an inorganic compound. It is easily hydrolyzed in water to give bismuth oxide chloride in the presence of ammonia. 

H2O + BiCl3 ——> 2 HCl + BiOCl

Question 3: What are the uses of Bismuth?


Bismuth is a chemical element with the symbol Bi. It is used as a catalyst in rubber production. It is commonly alloyed with lead, tin, and iron to form low melting alloys used in automatic fire sprinkler systems and electrical fuses. It is used as pigments for cosmetics, glass, and paints.

Question 4: What are the uses of Chlorine?


Chlorine is a chemical element with the symbol Cl. It has a variety of uses. It is used in industry and found in some household products. It is used to make dyes, textiles, medicines, insecticides, antiseptics, and paints. Chlorine is used in the manufacture of various drugs. It is used for the purification of water.

Question 5: Why Bismuth Trichloride is acidic?


Bismuth trichloride is an inorganic compound. The chemical formula of Bismuth trichloride is BiCl3.It is a strong Lewis acid that can perform complexation with alcohols and carbonyl species. When bismuth trichloride is treated with water it forms bismuth oxide chloride along with HCl solution. As HCl is acidic so the aqueous solution of bismuth trichloride is acidic.

Question 6: What are the reactions of Bismuth Trichloride with other elements or compounds give some examples.


Bismuth trichloride is an inorganic compound. The chemical formula of Bismuth trichloride is BiCl3.

  • Bismuth trichloride reacts with ammonia along with water to form ammonium chloride and bismuth hydroxide
    • 3 H2O + 3 NH3 + BiCl3 —–> 3 NH4Cl + Bi(OH)3 
  • 6 NaOH + 2 BiCl3 + 3 Na2SnO2 ——–> 3 H2O + 6 NaCl + 2 Bi + 3 Na2SnO3
  • 12 KOH + 10 KMnO4 + 2 BiCl3 —–> 6 H2O + 3 Cl2 + 10 K2MnO4 + 2 KBiO3
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