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Bismuth Hypophosphite, Bi(H2PO2)3.H2O

Bismuth Hypophosphite, Bi(H2PO2)3.H2O, is obtained as a white crystalline powder by the action of potassium or barium hypophosphite upon a solution of bismuth nitrate. It is decomposed very readily by heat, phosphine being evolved at temperatures a little above 100° C. At higher temperatures some metallic bismuth is formed, and the reaction may possibly be represented by the equation

3Bi(H2PO2)3 = 2Bi + Bi(PO3)3 + 6P + 9H2O

It is also readily decomposed by water.

The use of bismuth hypophosphite in conjunction with hydrogen peroxide has been suggested for the quantitative separation of bismuth from other metals.

A basic hypophosphite, BiO.H2PO2, has also been described as resulting from the action of bismuthyl hydroxide, BiO.OH, upon hypophosphorous acid. It also is unstable and appears to resemble closely the normal hypophosphite.

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