bismuth carbide is used in a wide variety of applications.
It is one of the more commonly found metallic carbides, which is a group of metals that bind together to form crystalline solids when heated in the presence of carbon. This type of carbide can be formed in an electric furnace, and it is often used to form catalysts for chemical reactions.
A very interesting example of bismuth carbide is the purple-silver crystalline material known as Bismanol, which was developed by the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in the 1950s. It has the highest coercive force of any permanent magnetic material and is also used in atomic fire alarms and sprinkler systems.
The crystal structure of Bismanol is very different from that of pure bismuth, although there are a few common features. Firstly, the atoms in Bismanol are arranged in three single covalent bonds rather than two, as is the case with the other metallic carbides.
This difference makes the crystalline structure of Bismanol much less stable than that of the other metallic carbides, and this can be seen by studying the crystals as they cool. In particular, the faces of the crystals are interrupted, orienting them in a number of different directions.
As a result, the surface of Bismanol is quite irregular in appearance. This is a very nice and unusual feature, but unfortunately it makes it unsuitable for making machined parts as the surface can be quite rough. Hopefully a new type of bismuth carbide will be discovered that is more suited to making machinable components.