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Antimony

Antimony

Overview
Antimony is a toxic chemical element
Chemical element
A chemical element is a pure chemical substance consisting of one type of atom distinguished by its atomic number, which is the number of protons in its nucleus. Familiar examples of elements include carbon, oxygen, aluminum, iron, copper, gold, mercury, and lead.As of November 2011, 118 elements...

 with the symbol Sb and an atomic number
Atomic number
In chemistry and physics, the atomic number is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom and therefore identical to the charge number of the nucleus. It is conventionally represented by the symbol Z. The atomic number uniquely identifies a chemical element...

 of 51. A lustrous grey metalloid
Metalloid
Metalloid is a term used in chemistry when classifying the chemical elements. On the basis of their general physical and chemical properties, each element can usually be classified as a metal or a nonmetal. However, some elements with intermediate or mixed properties can be harder to characterize...

, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral
Sulfide mineral
The sulfide minerals are a class of minerals containing sulfide as the major anion. Some sulfide minerals are economically important as metal ores. The sulfide class also includes the selenides, the tellurides, the arsenides, the antimonides, the bismuthinides, the sulfarsenides and the sulfosalts...

 stibnite
Stibnite
Stibnite, sometimes called antimonite, is a sulfide mineral with the formula Sb2S3. This soft grey material crystallizes in an orthorhombic space group. It is the most important source for the metalloid antimony...

 (Sb2S3). Although the use of antimony is limited by its toxicity, its compounds have been of fundamental value in chemistry – a prominent example being the development of superacid
Superacid
According to the classical definition superacid is an acid with an acidity greater than that of 100% pure sulfuric acid, which has a Hammett acidity function of −12. According to the modern definition, superacid is a medium, in which the chemical potential of the proton is higher than in pure...

s derived from antimony pentafluoride
Antimony pentafluoride
Antimony pentafluoride is the inorganic compound with the formula SbF5. This colourless, viscous liquid is a valuable Lewis acid and a component of the superacid fluoroantimonic acid, the strongest known acid...

. Antimony compounds are prominent fire retardant
Fire retardant
A fire retardant is a substance other than water that reduces flammability of fuels or delays their combustion. This typically refers to chemical retardants but may also include substances that work by physical action, such as cooling the fuels; examples of these include fire-fighting foams and...

s found in many commercial and domestic products.
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Encyclopedia
Antimony is a toxic chemical element
Chemical element
A chemical element is a pure chemical substance consisting of one type of atom distinguished by its atomic number, which is the number of protons in its nucleus. Familiar examples of elements include carbon, oxygen, aluminum, iron, copper, gold, mercury, and lead.As of November 2011, 118 elements...

 with the symbol Sb and an atomic number
Atomic number
In chemistry and physics, the atomic number is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom and therefore identical to the charge number of the nucleus. It is conventionally represented by the symbol Z. The atomic number uniquely identifies a chemical element...

 of 51. A lustrous grey metalloid
Metalloid
Metalloid is a term used in chemistry when classifying the chemical elements. On the basis of their general physical and chemical properties, each element can usually be classified as a metal or a nonmetal. However, some elements with intermediate or mixed properties can be harder to characterize...

, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral
Sulfide mineral
The sulfide minerals are a class of minerals containing sulfide as the major anion. Some sulfide minerals are economically important as metal ores. The sulfide class also includes the selenides, the tellurides, the arsenides, the antimonides, the bismuthinides, the sulfarsenides and the sulfosalts...

 stibnite
Stibnite
Stibnite, sometimes called antimonite, is a sulfide mineral with the formula Sb2S3. This soft grey material crystallizes in an orthorhombic space group. It is the most important source for the metalloid antimony...

 (Sb2S3). Although the use of antimony is limited by its toxicity, its compounds have been of fundamental value in chemistry – a prominent example being the development of superacid
Superacid
According to the classical definition superacid is an acid with an acidity greater than that of 100% pure sulfuric acid, which has a Hammett acidity function of −12. According to the modern definition, superacid is a medium, in which the chemical potential of the proton is higher than in pure...

s derived from antimony pentafluoride
Antimony pentafluoride
Antimony pentafluoride is the inorganic compound with the formula SbF5. This colourless, viscous liquid is a valuable Lewis acid and a component of the superacid fluoroantimonic acid, the strongest known acid...

. Antimony compounds are prominent fire retardant
Fire retardant
A fire retardant is a substance other than water that reduces flammability of fuels or delays their combustion. This typically refers to chemical retardants but may also include substances that work by physical action, such as cooling the fuels; examples of these include fire-fighting foams and...

s found in many commercial and domestic products. Certain alloy
Alloy
An alloy is a mixture or metallic solid solution composed of two or more elements. Complete solid solution alloys give single solid phase microstructure, while partial solutions give two or more phases that may or may not be homogeneous in distribution, depending on thermal history...

s are valuable for use in solder
Solder
Solder is a fusible metal alloy used to join together metal workpieces and having a melting point below that of the workpiece.Soft solder is what is most often thought of when solder or soldering are mentioned and it typically has a melting range of . It is commonly used in electronics and...

s and ball bearing
Ball bearing
A ball bearing is a type of rolling-element bearing that uses balls to maintain the separation between the bearing races.The purpose of a ball bearing is to reduce rotational friction and support radial and axial loads. It achieves this by using at least two races to contain the balls and transmit...

s. An emerging application is the use of antimony in microelectronics
Microelectronics
Microelectronics is a subfield of electronics. As the name suggests, microelectronics relates to the study and manufacture of very small electronic components. Usually, but not always, this means micrometre-scale or smaller,. These devices are made from semiconductors...

.

History



Antimony's sulfide compound, antimony(III) sulfide, Sb2S3 was recognized in antiquity, at least as early as 3000 BC
4th millennium BC
The 4th millennium BC saw major changes in human culture. It marked the beginning of the Bronze Age and of writing.The city states of Sumer and the kingdom of Egypt were established and grew to prominence. Agriculture spread widely across Eurasia...

.

An artifact, said to be part of a vase, made of antimony dating to about 3000 BC was found at Tello, Chaldea
Chaldea
Chaldea or Chaldaea , from Greek , Chaldaia; Akkadian ; Hebrew כשדים, Kaśdim; Aramaic: ܟܐܠܕܘ, Kaldo) was a marshy land located in modern-day southern Iraq which came to briefly rule Babylon...

 (part of present-day Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

), and a copper object plated with antimony dating between 2500 BC and 2200 BC has been found in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. One contemporary (Austen, at a lecture by Herbert Gladstone, published in 1892) was reported to comment that "we only know of antimony at the present day as a highly brittle and crystalline metal, which could hardly be fashioned into a useful vase, and therefore this remarkable 'find' must represent the lost art of rendering antimony malleable." However, Moorey was unconvinced that the artefact was indeed a vase, mentioning that Selimkhanov, after his analysis of the Telloh object (published in 1975), "attempted to relate the metal to Transcaucasian natural antimony" (i.e. native metal) and that "the antimony objects from Transcaucasia are all small personal ornaments." This weakens the evidence for a lost art "of rendering antimony malleable."

The first European description of a procedure for isolating antimony is in the book De la pirotechnia
De la pirotechnia
De la Pirotechnia is considered to be the first printed book on metallurgy to have been published in Europe. It was written in Italian and published in Venice in 1540...

of 1540 by Vannoccio Biringuccio
Vannoccio Biringuccio
- External links :*...

. This book predates the more famous 1556 book by Agricola
Georg Agricola
Georgius Agricola was a German scholar and scientist. Known as "the father of mineralogy", he was born at Glauchau in Saxony. His real name was Georg Pawer; Agricola is the Latinised version of his name, Pawer meaning "farmer"...

, De re metallica
De re metallica
De re metallica is a book cataloguing the state of the art of mining, refining, and smelting metals, published in 1556. The author was Georg Bauer, whose pen name was the Latinized Georgius Agricola...

, even though Agricola has been often incorrectly credited with the discovery of metallic antimony. A text describing the preparation of metallic antimony that was published in Germany in 1604 purported to date from the early fifteenth century, and if authentic it would predate Biringuccio. The book, written in Latin, was called "Currus Triumphalis Antimonii" (The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony), and its putative author was a certain Benedictine
Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

 monk, writing under the name Basilius Valentinus
Basilius Valentinus
Basil Valentine is the Anglicised version of the name Basilius Valentinus, who was allegedly a 15th-century alchemist. There are claims that he was the Canon of the Benedictine Priory of Sankt Peter in Erfurt, Germany but according to John Maxson Stillman, who wrote on the history of chemistry,...

. An English translation of the "Currus Triumphalis" appeared in English in 1660, under the title The Triumphant Chariot of Antimony. The work remains of great interest, chiefly because it documents how followers of the renegade German physician, Philippus Theophrastus Paracelsus
Paracelsus
Paracelsus was a German-Swiss Renaissance physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer, and general occultist....

 von Hohenheim (of whom Thölde was one), came to associate the practice of alchemy with the preparation of chemical medicines.

Pure antimony was well known to Jābir ibn Hayyān, sometimes called "the Father of Chemistry", in the 8th century. Here there is still an open controversy: Marcellin Berthelot
Marcellin Berthelot
Marcelin Pierre Eugène Berthelot was a French chemist and politician noted for the Thomsen-Berthelot principle of thermochemistry. He synthesized many organic compounds from inorganic substances and disproved the theory of vitalism. He is considered as one of the greatest chemists of all time.He...

, who translated a number of Jābir's books, stated that antimony is never mentioned in them, but other authors claim that Berthelot translated only some of the less important books, while the more interesting ones (some of which might describe antimony) are not yet translated, and their content is completely unknown.

The first natural occurrence of pure antimony ('native antimony') in the Earth's crust was described by the Swedish scientist and local mine district engineer Anton von Swab in 1783. The type-sample
Type locality (geology)
Type locality , also called type area or type locale, is the where a particular rock type, stratigraphic unit, fossil or mineral species is first identified....

 was collected from the Sala Silver Mine in the Bergslagen mining district of Sala, Västmanland
Västmanland County
Västmanland County is a county or län in central Sweden. It borders to the counties of Södermanland, Örebro, Gävleborg, Dalarna and Uppsala...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

.

Etymology


The ancient words for antimony mostly have, as their chief meaning, kohl
Kohl (cosmetics)
Kohl is an ancient eye cosmetic. It was made by grinding galena and other ingredients. It is widely used in South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and parts of West Africa to darken the eyelids and as mascara for the eyelashes...

, the sulfide of antimony. Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

, however, distinguishes between male and female forms of antimony; his male form is probably the sulfide, while the female form, which is superior, heavier, and less friable, is probably native metallic antimony.

The Egyptians called antimony mśdmt; in hieroglyphs
Hieroglyphs
Hieroglyph or hieroglyphics may refer to:*Anatolian hieroglyphs*Chinese character*Cretan hieroglyphs*Cursive hieroglyphs*Dongba script*Egyptian hieroglyphs*Hieroglyphic Luwian*Mayan hieroglyphs...

, the vowels are uncertain, but there is an Arabic tradition that the word is ميسديميت mesdemet. The Greek word, στίμμι stimmi, is probably a loan word from Arabic or Egyptian sdm O34:D46-G17-F21:D4, and is used by the Attic tragic poet
Poet
A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

s of the 5th century BC; later Greeks also used στἰβι stibi, as did Celsus
Aulus Cornelius Celsus
Aulus Cornelius Celsus was a Roman encyclopedist, known for his extant medical work, De Medicina, which is believed to be the only surviving section of a much larger encyclopedia. The De Medicina is a primary source on diet, pharmacy, surgery and related fields, and it is one of the best sources...

 and Pliny
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

, writing in Latin, in the first century AD. Pliny also gives the names stimi [sic], larbaris, alabaster
Alabaster
Alabaster is a name applied to varieties of two distinct minerals, when used as a material: gypsum and calcite . The former is the alabaster of the present day; generally, the latter is the alabaster of the ancients...

, and the "very common" platyophthalmos, "wide-eye" (from the effect of the cosmetic). Later Latin authors adapted the word to Latin as stibium. The Arabic word for the substance, as opposed to the cosmetic, can appear as تحميض، ثمود، وثمود، وثمود ithmid, athmoud, othmod, or uthmod. Littré suggests the first form, which is the earliest, derives from stimmida, (one) accusative for stimmi.

The use of Sb as the standard chemical symbol for antimony is due to the 18th century chemical pioneer, Jöns Jakob Berzelius
Jöns Jakob Berzelius
Jöns Jacob Berzelius was a Swedish chemist. He worked out the modern technique of chemical formula notation, and is together with John Dalton, Antoine Lavoisier, and Robert Boyle considered a father of modern chemistry...

, who used this abbreviation of the name stibium. The medieval Latin form, from which the modern languages and late Byzantine Greek, take their names, is antimonium. The origin of this is uncertain; all suggestions have some difficulty either of form or interpretation. The popular etymology, from ἀντίμοναχός anti-monachos or French antimoine, still has adherents; this would mean "monk-killer", and is explained by many early alchemist
Alchemist
An alchemist is a person who practices alchemy. Alchemist may also refer to:-People and groups:*The Alchemist , a hip hop music producer and rapper*Alchemist , an Australian progressive metal band...

s being monks, and antimony being poisonous.The use of a symbol resembling an upside down "female" symbol for antimony could also hint at a satirical pun in this origin So does the hypothetical Greek word ἀντίμόνος antimonos, "against one", explained as "not found as metal", or "not found unalloyed".
Lippmann conjectured a Greek word, ανθήμόνιον anthemonion, which would mean "floret", and he cites several examples of related Greek words (but not that one) which describe chemical or biological efflorescence
Efflorescence
In chemistry, efflorescence is the loss of water of crystallization from a hydrated or solvated salt to the atmosphere on exposure to air.-Examples:...

.

The early uses of antimonium include the translations, in 1050–1100, by Constantine the African
Constantine the African
Constantine the African was a Tunisian doctor of the eleventh century. The first part of his life was spent in Tunisia and the rest in Italy. In Salerno, Italy, he became a professor of medicine and his work attracted widespread attention...

 of Arabic medical treatises. Several authorities believe that antimonium is a scribal corruption of some Arabic form; Meyerhof derives it from ithmid; other possibilities include Athimar, the Arabic name of the metal, and a hypothetical as-stimmi, derived from or parallel to the Greek.

Properties



Antimony is in the nitrogen group
Nitrogen group
The nitrogen group is a periodic table group consisting of nitrogen , phosphorus , arsenic , antimony , bismuth and ununpentium ....

 (group 15) and has an electronegativity
Electronegativity
Electronegativity, symbol χ , is a chemical property that describes the tendency of an atom or a functional group to attract electrons towards itself. An atom's electronegativity is affected by both its atomic number and the distance that its valence electrons reside from the charged nucleus...

 of 2.05. As expected by periodic trends, it is more electronegative than tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

 or bismuth
Bismuth
Bismuth is a chemical element with symbol Bi and atomic number 83. Bismuth, a trivalent poor metal, chemically resembles arsenic and antimony. Elemental bismuth may occur naturally uncombined, although its sulfide and oxide form important commercial ores. The free element is 86% as dense as lead...

, and less electronegative than tellurium or arsenic
Arsenic
Arsenic is a chemical element with the symbol As, atomic number 33 and relative atomic mass 74.92. Arsenic occurs in many minerals, usually in conjunction with sulfur and metals, and also as a pure elemental crystal. It was first documented by Albertus Magnus in 1250.Arsenic is a metalloid...

.

Antimony is stable in air at room temperature but reacts with oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

 if heated to form antimony trioxide
Antimony trioxide
Antimony trioxide is the inorganic compound with the formula Sb2O3. It is the most important commercial compound of antimony. It is found in nature as the minerals valentinite and senarmontite...

, Sb2O3.

Antimony is a silvery, lustrous gray metal that has a Mohs scale hardness of 3. Therefore, antimony by itself is not used to make hard objects: coins made of antimony were issued in China's Guizhou
Guizhou
' is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the southwestern part of the country. Its provincial capital city is Guiyang.- History :...

 province in 1931, but because of their rapid wear their minting was discontinued. Antimony is resistant to attack by acids.

Four allotropes
Allotropy
Allotropy or allotropism is the property of some chemical elements to exist in two or more different forms, known as allotropes of these elements...

 of antimony are known: a stable metallic form, and three metastable forms: explosive, black and yellow. Metallic antimony is a brittle
Brittle
A material is brittle if, when subjected to stress, it breaks without significant deformation . Brittle materials absorb relatively little energy prior to fracture, even those of high strength. Breaking is often accompanied by a snapping sound. Brittle materials include most ceramics and glasses ...

, silver-white shiny metal. When molten antimony is slowly cooled, metallic antimony crystallizes in an hexagonal cell, isomorphic with that of the grey allotrope of arsenic
Arsenic
Arsenic is a chemical element with the symbol As, atomic number 33 and relative atomic mass 74.92. Arsenic occurs in many minerals, usually in conjunction with sulfur and metals, and also as a pure elemental crystal. It was first documented by Albertus Magnus in 1250.Arsenic is a metalloid...

. A rare explosive form of antimony can be formed from the electrolysis of antimony(III) trichloride. When scratched with a sharp implement, an exothermic
Exothermic
In thermodynamics, the term exothermic describes a process or reaction that releases energy from the system, usually in the form of heat, but also in the form of light , electricity , or sound...

 reaction occurs and white fumes given off as metallic antimony is formed; alternatively, when rubbed with a pestle in a mortar, a strong detonation occurs. Black antimony is formed upon rapid cooling of gaseous metallic antimony. It has the same crystal structure as red phosphorus and black arsenic, it oxidizes in air and may ignite spontaneously. At 100 °C, it gradually transforms into the stable form. The yellow allotrope of antimony is the most unstable. It has only been generated by oxidation of stibine
Stibine
Stibine is the chemical compound with the formula SbH3. This colourless gas is the principal covalent hydride of antimony and a heavy analogue of ammonia. The molecule is pyramidal with H–Sb–H angles of 91.7° and Sb–H distances of 1.707 Å...

 (SbH3) at −90 °C. Above this temperature and in ambient light, this meta stable allotrope transforms into the more stable black allotrope.

Metallic antimony adopts a double-layered structure (space group
Space group
In mathematics and geometry, a space group is a symmetry group, usually for three dimensions, that divides space into discrete repeatable domains.In three dimensions, there are 219 unique types, or counted as 230 if chiral copies are considered distinct...

 Rm No. 166) consisting of many interlocked ruffled six-membered rings. Nearest and next-nearest neighbors form a distorted octahedral complex, with the three atoms in the same double-layer being slightly closer than the three atoms in the next. This relatively close packing leads to a high density of 6.697 g/cm3 whereas the low hardness and brittleness of antimony originate from the weak bonding among the layers.

Isotopes



Antimony exists as two stable isotopes, 121Sb with a natural abundance of 57.36% and 123Sb with a natural abundance of 42.64%. It also has 35 radioisotopes, of which the longest-lived is 125Sb with a half-life
Half-life
Half-life, abbreviated t½, is the period of time it takes for the amount of a substance undergoing decay to decrease by half. The name was originally used to describe a characteristic of unstable atoms , but it may apply to any quantity which follows a set-rate decay.The original term, dating to...

 of 2.75 years. In addition, 29 metastable
Nuclear isomer
A nuclear isomer is a metastable state of an atomic nucleus caused by the excitation of one or more of its nucleons . "Metastable" refers to the fact that these excited states have half-lives more than 100 to 1000 times the half-lives of the other possible excited nuclear states...

 states have been characterised.

Occurrence



The abundance of antimony in the Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

's crust is estimated at 0.2 to 0.5 parts per million, comparable to thallium
Thallium
Thallium is a chemical element with the symbol Tl and atomic number 81. This soft gray poor metal resembles tin but discolors when exposed to air. The two chemists William Crookes and Claude-Auguste Lamy discovered thallium independently in 1861 by the newly developed method of flame spectroscopy...

 at 0.5 parts per million and silver at 0.07 ppm. Even though this element is not abundant, it is found in over 100 mineral
Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

 species. Antimony is sometimes found native, but more frequently it is found in the sulfide stibnite
Stibnite
Stibnite, sometimes called antimonite, is a sulfide mineral with the formula Sb2S3. This soft grey material crystallizes in an orthorhombic space group. It is the most important source for the metalloid antimony...

 (Sb2S3) which is the predominant ore mineral
Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

. Commercial forms of antimony are generally ingot
Ingot
An ingot is a material, usually metal, that is cast into a shape suitable for further processing. Non-metallic and semiconductor materials prepared in bulk form may also be referred to as ingots, particularly when cast by mold based methods.-Uses:...

s, broken pieces, granules
Granular material
A granular material is a conglomeration of discrete solid, macroscopic particles characterized by a loss of energy whenever the particles interact . The constituents that compose granular material must be large enough such that they are not subject to thermal motion fluctuations...

, and cast cake. Other forms are powder
Powder (substance)
A powder is a dry,thick bulk solid composed of a large number of very fine particles that may flow freely when shaken or tilted. Powders are a special sub-class of granular materials, although the terms powder and granular are sometimes used to distinguish separate classes of material...

, shot, and single crystal
Single crystal
A single crystal or monocrystalline solid is a material in which the crystal lattice of the entire sample is continuous and unbroken to the edges of the sample, with no grain boundaries...

s.

In 2005, the People's Republic of China was the top producer of antimony with about 84% world share followed at a distance by South Africa, Bolivia and Tajikistan, reports the British Geological Survey
British Geological Survey
The British Geological Survey is a partly publicly funded body which aims to advance geoscientific knowledge of the United Kingdom landmass and its continental shelf by means of systematic surveying, monitoring and research. The BGS headquarters are in Keyworth, Nottinghamshire, but other centres...

. The mine with the largest deposits in China is Xikuangshan Mine
Xikuangshan Mine
Xikuangshan mine in Lengshuijiang, Hunan, China, contains the world's largest deposit of antimony. It is unique in that there is a large deposit of stibnite in a layer of Devonian limestone. There are three mineral beds which are between 2.5 and 8 m thick which are folded in an anticline that...

 in Hunan
Hunan
' is a province of South-Central China, located to the south of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and south of Lake Dongting...

 province with a estimated deposit of 2.1 million metric tons.
In October 2011 a deposit of antimony was found in a shallow seabed about 50 km off Amami-Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture. The discovery was the first time that antimony had been found at such shallow depths(480 meters), with this type of mineral deposit only ever having been found in depths in excess of 1000 meters.

Production




The extraction of antimony from ores depends on the quality of the ore, which is usually a sulfide. The sulfide is converted to an oxide and advantage is often taken of the volatility of antimony(III) oxide, which is recovered from roasting. This material is often used directly for the main applications, impurities being arsenic and sulfide. Antimony can be isolated from its ore by a reduction with scrap iron:
+ 3 Fe → 2 Sb + 3 FeS


Isolating antimony from its oxide is performed by a carbothermal reduction:
2 + 3 C → 4 Sb + 3
Antimony production in 2010
Country Tonnes % of total
 People's Republic of China 120,000 88.9
 South Africa 3,000 2.2
 Bolivia 3,000 2.2
 Russia 3,000 2.2
 Tajikistan 2,000 1.5
Top 5 131,000 97.0
Total world 135,000 100.0

Compounds



Antimony compounds are often classified into those of Sb(III) and Sb(V). Relative to its neighboring element As, the 5+ oxidaton state is more stable.

Oxides and hydroxides


Antimony trioxide
Antimony trioxide
Antimony trioxide is the inorganic compound with the formula Sb2O3. It is the most important commercial compound of antimony. It is found in nature as the minerals valentinite and senarmontite...

  is formed when antimony is burnt in air.
In the gas phase, this compound exists as , but it polymerises upon condensing. Antimony pentoxide
Antimony pentoxide
Antimony pentoxide is a chemical compound of antimony and oxygen. It always occurs in hydrated form, Sb2O5·nH2O. It contains antimony in the +5 oxidation state.-Structure:...

, can only be formed by oxidation by concentrated nitric acid
Nitric acid
Nitric acid , also known as aqua fortis and spirit of nitre, is a highly corrosive and toxic strong acid.Colorless when pure, older samples tend to acquire a yellow cast due to the accumulation of oxides of nitrogen. If the solution contains more than 86% nitric acid, it is referred to as fuming...

. Antimony also forms a mixed-valence oxide, antimony tetroxide
Antimony tetroxide
Antimony tetroxide is an inorganic compound with the formula Sb2O4. This material, which exists as the mineral cervantite, is white but reversibly yellows upon heating...

 , which features both Sb(III) and Sb(V). Unlike phosphorus
Phosphorus
Phosphorus is the chemical element that has the symbol P and atomic number 15. A multivalent nonmetal of the nitrogen group, phosphorus as a mineral is almost always present in its maximally oxidized state, as inorganic phosphate rocks...

 and arsenic
Arsenic
Arsenic is a chemical element with the symbol As, atomic number 33 and relative atomic mass 74.92. Arsenic occurs in many minerals, usually in conjunction with sulfur and metals, and also as a pure elemental crystal. It was first documented by Albertus Magnus in 1250.Arsenic is a metalloid...

, these various oxides are amphoteric and do not form well-defined oxoacid
Oxoacid
An oxoacid is an acid that contains oxygen. To be more specific, it is an acid that:#contains oxygen#contains at least one other element#has at least one hydrogen atom bound to oxygen#forms an ion by the loss of one or more protons....

s and react with acids to form antimony salts.

Antimonous acid is unknown but the conjugate base sodium antimonite forms upon fusing sodium oxide
Sodium oxide
Sodium oxide is a chemical compound with the formula Na2O. It is used in ceramics and glasses, though not in a raw form. Treatment with water affords sodium hydroxide....

 and . Transition metal antimonites are also known. Antimonic acid exists only as the hydrate , forming salts containing the antimonate anion . Dehydrating metal salts containing this anion yields mixed oxides.

Many antimony ores are sulfides, including stibnite
Stibnite
Stibnite, sometimes called antimonite, is a sulfide mineral with the formula Sb2S3. This soft grey material crystallizes in an orthorhombic space group. It is the most important source for the metalloid antimony...

 , pyrargyrite
Pyrargyrite
Pyrargyrite is a sulfosalt mineral consisting of silver sulfantimonide, Ag3SbS3. Known also as dark red silver ore or ruby silver, it is an important source of the metal....

 , zinkenite
Zinkenite
Zinkenite is a steel-gray metallic sulfosalt mineral composed of lead antimony sulfide Pb9Sb22S42. Zinkenite occurs as acicular needle-like crystals....

, jamesonite
Jamesonite
Jamesonite is a sulfosalt mineral, a lead, iron, antimony sulfide with formula Pb4FeSb6S14. With the addition of manganese it forms a series with benavidesite. It is a dark grey metallic mineral which forms acicular prismatic monoclinic crystals. It is soft with a Mohs hardness of 2.5 and has a...

, and boulangerite
Boulangerite
Boulangerite is a sulfosalt mineral, lead antimony sulfide, formula Pb5Sb4S11. It was named in 1837 in honor of French mining engineer Charles Boulanger. It forms metallic grey monoclinic crystals. Sometimes the crystals form a fine feathery mass which has been called plumosite....

. Antimony pentasulfide
Antimony pentasulfide
Antimony pentasulfide is an inorganic compound of antimony and sulfur, also known as antimony red. It is a nonstoichiometric compound with a variable composition. Commercial samples are usually are contaminated with sulfur, which may be removed by washing with carbon disulfide in a Soxhlet...

 is non-stoichiometric
Non-stoichiometric compound
Non-stoichiometric compounds are chemical compounds with an elemental composition that cannot be represented by a ratio of well-defined natural numbers, and therefore violate the law of definite proportions. Often, they are solids that contain crystallographic point defects, such as interstitial...

 and features antimony in the +3 oxidation state
Oxidation state
In chemistry, the oxidation state is an indicator of the degree of oxidation of an atom in a chemical compound. The formal oxidation state is the hypothetical charge that an atom would have if all bonds to atoms of different elements were 100% ionic. Oxidation states are typically represented by...

 and S-S bonds. Several thioantimonides are known such as and .

Halides


Antimony forms two series of halide
Halide
A halide is a binary compound, of which one part is a halogen atom and the other part is an element or radical that is less electronegative than the halogen, to make a fluoride, chloride, bromide, iodide, or astatide compound. Many salts are halides...

s, and . The trihalides
Antimony trifluoride
Antimony trifluoride is the inorganic compound with the formula SbF3. Sometimes called Swart's reagent, is one of two principal fluorides of antimony, the other being SbF5. It appears as a white solid...

,
Antimony trichloride
Antimony trichloride is the chemical compound with the formula SbCl3. The soft colorless solid with a pungent odor was known to the alchemists as butter of antimony.-Preparation:...

,
Antimony tribromide
Antimony tribromide is a chemical compound containing antimony in its +3 oxidation state. It may be made by the reaction of antimony with elemental bromine or the reaction of antimony trioxide with hydrobromic acid. It can be added to polymers such as polyethylene as a fire retardant...

, and
Antimony triiodide
Antimony triiodide is the chemical compound with the formula SbI3. This ruby-red solid is the only characterized "binary" iodide of antimony, i.e. the sole compound isolated with the formula SbxIy. It contains antimony in its +3 oxidation state. Like many iodides of the heavier main group...

 are all molecular compounds having trigonal pyramidal molecular geometry. The trifluoride is prepared by the reaction of with HF
Hydrofluoric acid
Hydrofluoric acid is a solution of hydrogen fluoride in water. It is a valued source of fluorine and is the precursor to numerous pharmaceuticals such as fluoxetine and diverse materials such as PTFE ....

:
+ 6 HF → 2 + 3


It is Lewis acid
Lewis acid
]The term Lewis acid refers to a definition of acid published by Gilbert N. Lewis in 1923, specifically: An acid substance is one which can employ a lone pair from another molecule in completing the stable group of one of its own atoms. Thus, H+ is a Lewis acid, since it can accept a lone pair,...

ic and readily accepts fluoride ions to form the complex anions and . Molten is a weak electrical conductor
Electrical conductor
In physics and electrical engineering, a conductor is a material which contains movable electric charges. In metallic conductors such as copper or aluminum, the movable charged particles are electrons...

. The trichloride is prepared by dissolving
Stibnite
Stibnite, sometimes called antimonite, is a sulfide mineral with the formula Sb2S3. This soft grey material crystallizes in an orthorhombic space group. It is the most important source for the metalloid antimony...

 in hydrochloric acid
Hydrochloric acid
Hydrochloric acid is a solution of hydrogen chloride in water, that is a highly corrosive, strong mineral acid with many industrial uses. It is found naturally in gastric acid....

:
+ 6 HCl → 2 + 3

The pentahalides and have trigonal bipyramidal molecular geometry in the gas phase, but in the liquid phase, is polymer
Polymer
A polymer is a large molecule composed of repeating structural units. These subunits are typically connected by covalent chemical bonds...

ic, whereas is monomeric.
Antimony pentafluoride
Antimony pentafluoride is the inorganic compound with the formula SbF5. This colourless, viscous liquid is a valuable Lewis acid and a component of the superacid fluoroantimonic acid, the strongest known acid...

 is a powerful Lewis acid used to make the superacid fluoroantimonic acid
Fluoroantimonic acid
Fluoroantimonic acid is a mixture of hydrogen fluoride and antimony pentafluoride in various ratios. The 1:1 combination forms the strongest known superacid, which has been demonstrated to protonate even hydrocarbons to afford carbocations and H2....

 ("HSbF6").

Oxyhalides are more common for antimony than arsenic and phosphorus. Antimony trioxide dissolves in concentrated acid to form antimony oxo- (antimonyl) compounds such as SbOCl and .

Antimonides, hydrides, and organoantimony compounds


Compounds in this class generally are described as derivatives of Sb3-. Antimony forms antimonides with metals, such as indium antimonide (InSb), and silver antimonide . The alkali metal and zinc antimonides, e.g. Na3Sb and Zn3Sb2, are more reactive. Treating these antimonides with acid produces the unstable gas stibine
Stibine
Stibine is the chemical compound with the formula SbH3. This colourless gas is the principal covalent hydride of antimony and a heavy analogue of ammonia. The molecule is pyramidal with H–Sb–H angles of 91.7° and Sb–H distances of 1.707 Å...

, :
+ 3 →

Stibine can also be produced by treating salts with hydride reagents such as sodium borohydride
Sodium borohydride
Sodium borohydride, also known as sodium tetrahydridoborate, is an inorganic compound with the formula NaBH4. This white solid, usually encountered as a powder, is a versatile reducing agent that finds wide application in chemistry, both in the laboratory and on a technical scale. Large amounts are...

. Stibine decomposes spontaneously at room temperature. Because stibine is thermodynamically unstable (positive heat of formation), antimony does not react with hydrogen directly.

Organoantimony compound
Organoantimony chemistry
Organoantimony chemistry is the chemistry of compounds containing a carbon to antimony chemical bond. Relevant oxidation states are Sb and Sb...

s are typically prepared by alkylation of antimony halides with Grignard reagents. A large variety of compounds are known with both Sb(III) and Sb(V) centers including mixed chloro-organic derivatives, anions, and cations. Examples include Sb(C6H5)3 (triphenylstibine
Triphenylstibine
Triphenylstibine is the chemical compound with the formula Sb3. Abbreviated SbPh3, this colourless solid is often considered the prototypical organoantimony compound...

), Sb2(C6H5)4 (with an Sb-Sb bond), and cyclic [Sb(C6H5)]n. Pentacoordinated organoantimony compounds are common, examples being Sb(C6H5)5 and several related halides.

Flame retardants


The main use of antimony is in the form of antimony trioxide
Antimony trioxide
Antimony trioxide is the inorganic compound with the formula Sb2O3. It is the most important commercial compound of antimony. It is found in nature as the minerals valentinite and senarmontite...

 is used in the making of flame-proofing compounds
Flame retardant
Flame retardants are chemicals used in thermoplastics, thermosets, textiles and coatings that inhibit or resist the spread of fire. These can be separated into several different classes of chemicals:...

. Markets for these flame-retardant applications include children's clothing, toys, aircraft and automobile seat covers. It is also used in the fiberglass
Glass-reinforced plastic
Fiberglass , is a fiber reinforced polymer made of a plastic matrix reinforced by fine fibers of glass. It is also known as GFK ....

 composites
Composite material
Composite materials, often shortened to composites or called composition materials, are engineered or naturally occurring materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties which remain separate and distinct at the macroscopic or...

 industry as an additive to polyester resin
Polyester resin
Polyester resins are unsaturated resins formed by the reaction of dibasic organic acids and polyhydric alcohols. Polyester resins are used in sheet moulding compound, bulk moulding compound and the toner of laser printers...

s for such items as light aircraft engine covers. The resin will burn while a flame is held to it but will extinguish itself as soon as the flame is removed. Fireproofing consumes about half of the annual production of antimony.

Alloys


Antimony forms a highly useful alloy
Alloy
An alloy is a mixture or metallic solid solution composed of two or more elements. Complete solid solution alloys give single solid phase microstructure, while partial solutions give two or more phases that may or may not be homogeneous in distribution, depending on thermal history...

 with lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

, increasing its hardness and mechanical strength. The Sb–Pb alloy is used in lead–acid batteries. It is used in antifriction alloys, such as Babbitt metal
Babbitt metal
Babbitt, also called Babbitt metal or bearing metal, is any of several alloys used for the bearing surface in a plain bearing.The original Babbitt metal was invented in 1839 by Isaac Babbitt in Taunton, Massachusetts, USA. Other formulations were later developed...

. It is used as an alloy in bullet
Bullet
A bullet is a projectile propelled by a firearm, sling, or air gun. Bullets do not normally contain explosives, but damage the intended target by impact and penetration...

s and lead shot
Lead shot
Lead shot is a collective term for small balls of lead. These were the original projectiles for muskets and early rifles, but today lead shot is fired primarily from shotguns. It is also used for a variety of other purposes...

, cable
Cable
A cable is two or more wires running side by side and bonded, twisted or braided together to form a single assembly. In mechanics cables, otherwise known as wire ropes, are used for lifting, hauling and towing or conveying force through tension. In electrical engineering cables are used to carry...

 sheathing, type metal
Type metal
In printing, type metal refers to the metal alloys used in traditional typefounding and hot metal typesetting. Lead is the main constituent of these alloys...

 (e.g. for linotype
Linotype machine
The Linotype typesetting machine is a "line casting" machine used in printing. The name of the machine comes from the fact that it produces an entire line of metal type at once, hence a line-o'-type, a significant improvement over manual typesetting....

 printing machines), solder
Solder
Solder is a fusible metal alloy used to join together metal workpieces and having a melting point below that of the workpiece.Soft solder is what is most often thought of when solder or soldering are mentioned and it typically has a melting range of . It is commonly used in electronics and...

 – some "lead-free" solders contain 5% Sb, in pewter
Pewter
Pewter is a malleable metal alloy, traditionally 85–99% tin, with the remainder consisting of copper, antimony, bismuth and lead. Copper and antimony act as hardeners while lead is common in the lower grades of pewter, which have a bluish tint. It has a low melting point, around 170–230 °C ,...

, and in hardening alloys with low tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

 content in the manufacturing of organ pipe
Organ pipe
An organ pipe is a sound-producing element of the pipe organ that resonates at a specific pitch when pressurized air is driven through it. Each pipe is tuned to a specific note of the musical scale...

s.

Other applications


The second main application is as a catalyst for the production of the polymer polyethyleneterephthalate. It is an additive in some glass
Glass
Glass is an amorphous solid material. Glasses are typically brittle and optically transparent.The most familiar type of glass, used for centuries in windows and drinking vessels, is soda-lime glass, composed of about 75% silica plus Na2O, CaO, and several minor additives...

es. In the latter application, antimony oxides serve as fining agents, aiding in the removal of microscopic bubbles. This application is mainly used for TV screens.

Microelectronics


In tiny amounts, antimony is increasingly being used in the semiconductor
Semiconductor
A semiconductor is a material with electrical conductivity due to electron flow intermediate in magnitude between that of a conductor and an insulator. This means a conductivity roughly in the range of 103 to 10−8 siemens per centimeter...

 industry as a dopant
Dopant
A dopant, also called a doping agent, is a trace impurity element that is inserted into a substance in order to alter the electrical properties or the optical properties of the substance. In the case of crystalline substances, the atoms of the dopant very commonly take the place of elements that...

 for ultra-high conductivity n-type
N-type semiconductor
N-type semiconductors are a type of extrinsic semiconductor where the dopant atoms are capable of providing extra conduction electrons to the host material . This creates an excess of negative electron charge carriers....

 silicon
Silicon
Silicon is a chemical element with the symbol Si and atomic number 14. A tetravalent metalloid, it is less reactive than its chemical analog carbon, the nonmetal directly above it in the periodic table, but more reactive than germanium, the metalloid directly below it in the table...

 wafers
Wafer (electronics)
A wafer is a thin slice of semiconductor material, such as a silicon crystal, used in the fabrication of integrated circuits and other microdevices...

 in the production of diode
Diode
In electronics, a diode is a type of two-terminal electronic component with a nonlinear current–voltage characteristic. A semiconductor diode, the most common type today, is a crystalline piece of semiconductor material connected to two electrical terminals...

s, infrared
Infrared
Infrared light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength longer than that of visible light, measured from the nominal edge of visible red light at 0.74 micrometres , and extending conventionally to 300 µm...

 detectors, and Hall-effect
Hall effect
The Hall effect is the production of a voltage difference across an electrical conductor, transverse to an electric current in the conductor and a magnetic field perpendicular to the current...

 devices.

In the 1950s, tiny beads of a lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

-antimony alloy were used to dope the emitters and collectors of NPN alloy junction transistors with antimony.

Medical


Few biological or medical applications exist for antimony. Treatments principally containing antimony are known as antimonial
Antimonial
Antimonials, in pre-modern medicine, were remedies principally containing antimony, used chiefly for emetic purposes. They might also have qualified for cathartic, diaphoretic, or simply alterative uses...

s and are used as emetics.

Antimony compounds are used as antiprotozoan
Antiprotozoal agent
Antiprotozoal agents is a class of pharmaceuticals used in treatment of protozoan infection.Protozoans have little in common with each other and so agents effective against one pathogen may not be effective against another...

 drugs. Antimony potassium tartrate, or tartar emetic, was once used as an anti-schistosomal
Schistosomiasis
Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease caused by several species of trematodes , a parasitic worm of the genus Schistosoma. Snails often act as an intermediary agent for the infectious diseases until a new human host is found...

 drug, subsequently replaced by praziquantel
Praziquantel
Praziquantel is an anthelmintic effective against flatworms. Praziquantel is not licensed for use in humans in the UK; it is, however, available as a veterinary anthelmintic, and is available for use in humans on a named-patient basis....

.

Antimony and its compounds are used in several veterinary preparations like anthiomaline or lithium antimony thiomalate, which is used as a skin conditioner in ruminant
Ruminant
A ruminant is a mammal of the order Artiodactyla that digests plant-based food by initially softening it within the animal's first compartment of the stomach, principally through bacterial actions, then regurgitating the semi-digested mass, now known as cud, and chewing it again...

s.

Antimony has a nourishing or conditioning effect on keratinized tissues, at least in animals.
Antimony-based drugs, such as meglumine antimoniate
Meglumine antimoniate
Meglumine antimoniate is a medicine used for treating leishmaniasis. It is manufactured by Aventis and sold as Glucantime in France, and Glucantim in Italy. It belongs to a group of compounds known as the pentavalent antimonials. It is administered by intramuscular injection....

, are also considered the drugs of choice for treatment of leishmaniasis
Leishmaniasis
Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by protozoan parasites that belong to the genus Leishmania and is transmitted by the bite of certain species of sand fly...

 in domestic animals. Unfortunately, as well as having low therapeutic indices
Therapeutic index
The therapeutic index is a comparison of the amount of a therapeutic agent that causes the therapeutic effect to the amount that causes death or toxicity ....

, the drugs are poor at penetrating the bone marrow
Bone marrow
Bone marrow is the flexible tissue found in the interior of bones. In humans, bone marrow in large bones produces new blood cells. On average, bone marrow constitutes 4% of the total body mass of humans; in adults weighing 65 kg , bone marrow accounts for approximately 2.6 kg...

, where some of the Leishmania amastigote
Amastigote
An amastigote is a cell that does not have a visible external flagella or cilia. The term is used mainly to describe a certain phase in the life-cycle of trypanosome protozoans. It is also called the leishmanial stage, since in Leishmania it is the form the parasite takes in the vertebrate host,...

s reside, and so cure of the disease – especially the visceral form – is very difficult.

Elemental antimony as an antimony pill
Antimony pill
An Antimony pill is a pill made from metallic antimony. It was a popular remedy in the nineteenth century, and it was used to purge and revitalise the bowels...

 was once used as a medicine. It could be reused by others after ingestion.

Other uses


In the heads of some safety matches and in nuclear reactor
Nuclear reactor
A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate and control a sustained nuclear chain reaction. Most commonly they are used for generating electricity and for the propulsion of ships. Usually heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid , which runs through turbines that power either ship's...

s together with beryllium
Beryllium
Beryllium is the chemical element with the symbol Be and atomic number 4. It is a divalent element which occurs naturally only in combination with other elements in minerals. Notable gemstones which contain beryllium include beryl and chrysoberyl...

 as startup neutron source
Startup neutron source
Startup neutron source is a neutron source used for stable and reliable initiation of nuclear chain reaction in nuclear reactors, when they are loaded with fresh nuclear fuel, whose neutron flux from spontaneous fission is insufficient for a reliable startup, or after prolonged shutdown periods...

s.

Antimony sulfides have been shown to help stabilize the friction coefficient in automotive brake pad materials.
Antimony also is used in the making of bullets and bullet tracers. This element is also used in cosmetics and event paint and glass art crafts.

Precautions


Antimony and many of its compounds are toxic, and the effects of antimony poisoning are similar to arsenic poisoning
Arsenic poisoning
Arsenic poisoning is a medical condition caused by increased levels of the element arsenic in the body. Arsenic interferes with cellular longevity by allosteric inhibition of an essential metabolic enzyme...

. Inhalation of antimony dust is harmful and in certain cases may be fatal; in small doses, antimony causes headache
Headache
A headache or cephalalgia is pain anywhere in the region of the head or neck. It can be a symptom of a number of different conditions of the head and neck. The brain tissue itself is not sensitive to pain because it lacks pain receptors. Rather, the pain is caused by disturbance of the...

s, dizziness
Dizziness
Dizziness refers to an impairment in spatial perception and stability. The term is somewhat imprecise. It can be used to mean vertigo, presyncope, disequilibrium, or a non-specific feeling such as giddiness or foolishness....

, and depression
Depression (mood)
Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behaviour, feelings and physical well-being. Depressed people may feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, or restless...

. Larger doses such as prolonged skin contact may cause dermatitis; otherwise it can damage the kidneys and the liver, causing violent and frequent vomiting
Vomiting
Vomiting is the forceful expulsion of the contents of one's stomach through the mouth and sometimes the nose...

, and will lead to death in a few days.

Antimony is incompatible with strong oxidizing agents, strong acids, halogen acids, chlorine, or fluorine. It should be kept away from heat.

Antimony leaches
Leaching (chemical science)
Leaching is the process of extracting minerals from a solid by dissolving them in a liquid, either in nature or through an industrial process. In the chemical processing industry, leaching has a variety of commercial applications, including separation of metal from ore using acid, and sugar from...

 from polyethylene terephthalate
Polyethylene terephthalate
Polyethylene terephthalate , commonly abbreviated PET, PETE, or the obsolete PETP or PET-P, is a thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family and is used in synthetic fibers; beverage, food and other liquid containers; thermoforming applications; and engineering resins often in combination...

 (PET) bottles into liquids. While levels observed for bottled water
Bottled water
Bottled water is drinking water packaged in plastic or glass water bottles. Bottled water may be carbonated or not...

 are below drinking water
Drinking water
Drinking water or potable water is water pure enough to be consumed or used with low risk of immediate or long term harm. In most developed countries, the water supplied to households, commerce and industry is all of drinking water standard, even though only a very small proportion is actually...

 guidelines, fruit juice concentrates (for which no guidelines are established) produced in the UK were found to contain up to 44.7 µg/L of antimony, well above the EU limits for tap water
Tap water
Tap water is a principal component of "indoor plumbing", which became available in urban areas of the developed world during the last quarter of the 19th century, and common during the mid-20th century...

 of 5 µg/L. The guidelines are:
  • World Health Organization
    World Health Organization
    The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

    : 20 µg/L
  • Japan: 15 µg/L
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency
    United States Environmental Protection Agency
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

    , Health Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Environment: 6 µg/L
  • German Federal Ministry of Environment: 5 µg/L

See also


  • Antimonial
    Antimonial
    Antimonials, in pre-modern medicine, were remedies principally containing antimony, used chiefly for emetic purposes. They might also have qualified for cathartic, diaphoretic, or simply alterative uses...

  • Antimony pill
    Antimony pill
    An Antimony pill is a pill made from metallic antimony. It was a popular remedy in the nineteenth century, and it was used to purge and revitalise the bowels...

  • Phase change memory
  • Naturalis Historia
    Naturalis Historia
    The Natural History is an encyclopedia published circa AD 77–79 by Pliny the Elder. It is one of the largest single works to have survived from the Roman Empire to the modern day and purports to cover the entire field of ancient knowledge, based on the best authorities available to Pliny...

  • Pliny the Elder
    Pliny the Elder
    Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...



External links



  • National Pollutant Inventory – Antimony and compounds
  • WebElements.com – Antimony
  • Chemistry in its element podcast (MP3) from the Royal Society of Chemistry
    Royal Society of Chemistry
    The Royal Society of Chemistry is a learned society in the United Kingdom with the goal of "advancing the chemical sciences." It was formed in 1980 from the merger of the Chemical Society, the Royal Institute of Chemistry, the Faraday Society and the Society for Analytical Chemistry with a new...

    's Chemistry World
    Chemistry World
    Chemistry World is a monthly chemistry news magazine published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. The magazine addresses current events in world of chemistry including research, international business news and government policy as it affects the chemical science community, plus the best product...

    : Antimony