Aren’t these crystal sculptures absolutely stunning? They are made when you melt down and purify the metal element, bismuth. As the name suggests, Pepto-Bismol contains a surprisingly high amount of bismuth, so it stands to reason that one could separate the bismuth out and use it to form these gorgeous crystals.
The scientist in the video below makes it clear that the whole process of separating the bismuth is expensive and time-consuming, and in no way is an efficient way to go about obtaining bismuth. However, it’s kind of cool to see his process as he explains the science behind everything! You probably shouldn’t try this at home, but it’s totally safe to watch and admire his handy-work!
He starts off with the tablet form of Pept-Bismol because he says there’s less to filter out than with the liquid version. He dumps the tablets into a solution of water and acid concentrate.
Then, the filtering process begins! he draws out the bismuth by placing tin foil in the solution. He pours the black clumps of bismuth into a coffee filter and washes it with purified water several times to wash it.
Next, he wrings out the filter containing the bismuth, thus extracting as much water as possible. The final step is to heat up the bismuth, which he admits is kind of a trial and error process. Eventually, though, he does have some success with creating some pretty cool crystals!
Pretty good for a first attempt! Of course, like he said in the beginning, there are much more cost-effective ways to obtain these cool bismuth crystals… like buying them outright. Just look at all of the cool sculptures some of the professionals have been able to make:
Go ahead and watch the fascinating process in the video below, and appreciate all of the time and science that goes into making this unique form of art!