Not to be confused with antinomy, a type of paradox.
51 tinantimonytellurium


Periodic Table - Extended Periodic Table
Name, Symbol, Number antimony, Sb, 51
Chemical series metalloids
Group, Period, Block 15, 5, p
Appearance silvery lustrous grey
Atomic mass 121.760(1) g/mol
Electron configuration [Kr] 4d10 5s2 5p3
Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 18, 5
Physical properties
Phase solid
Density (near r.t.) 6.697 g·cm−3
Liquid density at m.p. 6.53 g·cm−3
Melting point 903.78 K
(630.63 °C, 1167.13 °F)
Boiling point 1860 K
(1587 °C, 2889 °F)
Heat of fusion 19.79 kJ·mol−1
Heat of vaporization 193.43 kJ·mol−1
Heat capacity (25 °C) 25.23 J·mol−1·K−1
Vapor pressure
P/Pa 1 10 100 1 k 10 k 100 k
at T/K 807 876 1011 1219 1491 1858
Atomic properties
Crystal structure rhombohedral
Oxidation states −3, 3, 5
Electronegativity 2.05 (Pauling scale)
Ionization energies
1st: 834 kJ·mol−1
2nd: 1594.9 kJ·mol−1
3rd: 2440 kJ·mol−1
Atomic radius 145 pm
Atomic radius (calc.) 133 pm
Covalent radius 138 pm
Magnetic ordering no data
Electrical resistivity (20 °C) 417 nΩ·m
Thermal conductivity (300 K) 24.4 W·m−1·K−1
Thermal expansion (25 °C) 11.0 µm·m−1·K−1
Speed of sound (thin rod) (20 °C) 3420 m/s
Young's modulus 55 GPa
Shear modulus 20 GPa
Bulk modulus 42 GPa
Mohs hardness 3.0
Brinell hardness 294 MPa
CAS registry number 7440-36-0
Selected isotopes
Main article: Isotopes of antimony
iso NA half-life DM DE (MeV) DP
121Sb 57.36% Sb is stable with 70 neutrons
123Sb 42.64% Sb is stable with 72 neutrons
125Sb syn 2.7582 y Beta- 0.767 125Te

Antimony (IPA: /anˈtɪməni/) is a chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol Sb (Latin: stibium, meaning "mark") and atomic number 51. A metalloid, antimony has four allotropic forms. The stable form of antimony is a blue-white metalloid. Yellow and black antimony are unstable non-metals. Antimony is used in flame-proofing, paints, ceramics, enamels, a wide variety of alloys, electronics, and rubber.



Notable characteristics

Antimony in its elemental form is a silvery white, brittle, fusible, crystalline solid that exhibits poor electrical and heat conductivity properties and vaporizes at low temperatures. A metalloid, antimony resembles a metal in its appearance and in many of its physical properties, but does not chemically react as a metal. It is also attacked by oxidizing acids and halogens. Antimony and some of its alloys are unusual in that they expand on cooling.

Estimates of the abundance of antimony in the Earth's crust range from 0.2 to 0.5 ppm. Antimony is geochemically categorized as a chalcophile, occurring with sulfur and the heavy metals lead, copper, and silver.



Antimony is increasingly being used in the semiconductor industry in the production of diodes, infrared detectors, and Hall-effect devices. As an alloy, this metalloid greatly increases lead's hardness and mechanical strength. The most important use of antimony is as a hardener in lead for storage batteries. Uses include:

Antimony compounds in the form of oxides, sulfides, sodium antimonate, and antimony trichloride are used in the making of flame-proofing compounds, ceramic enamels, glass, paints, and pottery. Antimony trioxide is the most important of the antimony compounds and is primarily used in flame-retardant formulations. These flame-retardant applications include such markets as children's clothing, toys, aircraft and automobile seat covers. Also, antimony sulfide is one of the ingredients of safety matches.

The natural sulfide of antimony, stibnite, was known and used in Biblical times as medicine and as a cosmetic. Stibnite is still used in some developing countries as medicine. Antimony has been used for the treatment of schistosomiasis. Antimony attaches itself to sulfur atoms in certain enzymes which are used by both the parasite and human host. Small doses can kill the parasite without causing damage to the patient. Antimony and its compounds are used in several veterinary preparations like Anthiomaline or Lithium antimony thiomalate, which is used as a skin conditioner in ruminants. Antimony has a nourishing or conditioning effect on keratinized tissues, at least in animals. Tartar emetic is another antimony preparation which is used as an anti-schistosomal drug. Treatments chiefly involving antimony have been called antimonials.

A coin made of antimony was issued in the[Keichow Province of China in 1931. The coins were not popular, being too soft and they wore quickly when in circulation. After the first issue no others were produced.


Etymology of the Name

The etymology of the name antimony has not been determined, and it has been a matter of much speculation for centuries, with all claims lacking proof. Reportedly, its first use in a text[1] (as antimonium) was in a text by Constantine the African, renowned for translating Arabic medical treatises into Latin. It should be understood that until at least the European Middle Ages, people knew of antimony's leading ore, stibnite (antimony III trisulfide, Sb2S3), but they were not aware that the free element, which was produced only rarely, was a substance distinct from other metals[2]. The pure metalloid was usually confused with lead. The sulfide was called stibi (στιβι) or stimmi in Ancient Greek, stibium in Latin ("stibium" was used by Pliny in 50 AD[3]). In Arabic, powdered stibnite is kuḥl (IPA [kuħl]), whence English kohl; but in time, ithmid (IPA [iθmid], where [θ] is pronounced as the 'th' in English "think") came to be used also.

A widely repeated etymological claim is that "antimony" is a compound of Greek anti- and monos (literally "against single") and supposedly means "not found unalloyed"[4]. But this claimed etymology has apparently not been proven, and several other chemical elements known in antiquity also do not occur in the free (i.e., elemental) state. In 1919, the scholar von Lippmann published his proposal of a different Greek etymology: anthemonion, "bloom"[5]. An Arab-Spanish ophthalmologist, Muḥammad ibn Qassûm ibn Aslam Al-Ghâfiqî, writing some time between the 11th and 12th centuries, claimed that the names for antimony sulfide in Arabic, Latin, and Greek all derived from the Coptic word, mesdemet. He claimed as well that the term "antimony" was a fallacious rendering of the Arabic name, al-iθmid (where al- means "the")[6]. This is not to say that this Al-Ghâfiqî was the first or the only scholar to make the second claim. In any case, the claim is not substantiated and moreover it is highly dubious for two reasons. Firstly, it was, as noted above, used by Constantine the African, who was an Arabic speaker, a native of Carthage. Secondly, it would entail an extreme degree of phonetic corruption not manifested in dozens of other Arabic loanwords in Medieval Latin and Spanish.



The chemical pioneer Jöns Jakob Berzelius used an abbreviation of the name stibium to refer to antimony in his writings, and his usage became the standard chemical symbol for antimony.

Antimony's sulfide compound, antimony III trisulfide, Sb2S3 was recognized in antiquity, at least as early as 3000 BC. Pastes of Sb2S3 powder in fat[7] or in other materials have been used since that date as eye cosmetics in the Middle East and farther afield; in this use, Sb2S3 is called "kohl". It was used to darken the brows and lashes, or to draw a line around the perimeter of the eye.

A vase made of antimony dating to about 3000 BC was found at Tello, Chaldea, and a copper object plated with antimony dating between 2500 BC and 2200 BC has been found in Egypt.[8] According to the history of metallurgy the first description of the procedure to isolate antimony is in the Italian book "De la pirotechnia" of 1540 of Vannoccio Biringuccio. This book precedes the more famous Latin book "De re metallica" of 1556 of Agricola, although the latter has been often incorrectly considered the discoverer of metallic antimony.

Alchemical symbol for antimony
Alchemical symbol for antimony

According to the traditional history of western alchemy metallic antimony was described (previous to Biringuccio) by the Prior Basilius Valentinus in the Latin manuscript "Currus Triumphalis Antimonii" of about 1450, published, in the English translation "The triumphal chariot of antimony", only in 1604 by Johann Thölde (1565-1614). The marvellous finding of all of the Valentinus' manuscripts, as in the alchemical tales, is fully described by Jean-Jacques Manget in his Bibliotheca chemica curiosa (1702): these manuscripts remained enclosed for more than a century in a pillar of St. Peter's Abbey, at Erfurt, until the pillar was shattered by a thunderbolt. Many authors consider Basilius Valentinus a mythological personage: the most authoritative of them is Leibniz (1646-1716), who declared after a careful search that the Prior Valentinus never existed in the Abbey of Erfurt, but was only a pseudonym, probably of Thölde himself, used to merge poorly-translated materials of various origins.

According to the traditional history of Middle Eastern alchemy, pure antimony was well known to Geber, sometimes called "the Father of Chemistry", in the 8th century. Here there is still an open controversy: Marcellin Berthelot, who translated a number of Geber'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.



Native massive antimony with oxidation products
Native massive antimony with oxidation products

Even though this element is not abundant, it is found in over 100 mineral species. Antimony is sometimes found native, but more frequently it is found in the sulfide stibnite (Sb2S3) which is the predominant ore mineral. Commercial forms of antimony are generally ingots, broken pieces, granules, and cast cake. Other forms are powder, shot, and single crystals.

Country Tonnes % of total
People's Republic of China 126 000 81.5
Russia 12 000 7.8
South Africa 5 023 3.3
Tajikistan 3 480 2.3
Bolivia 2 430 1.6
Top 5 148 933 96.4
Total world 154 538 100.0

Chiffres de 2003, métal contenue dans les minerais et concentrés, source : L'état du monde 2005

The largest mine in China is Xikuangshan mine in Hunan Province.

See also Antimonide minerals, Antimonate minerals.



Antimony and many of its compounds are toxic. Clinically, antimony poisoning is very similar to arsenic poisoning. In small doses, antimony causes headache, dizziness, and depression. Such small doses have in the past been reported in some acidic fruit drinks. The acidic nature of the drink is sufficient to dissolve small amounts of antimony oxide contained in the packaging of the drink; modern manufacturing methods prevent this occurrence. Larger doses cause violent and frequent vomiting, and will lead to death in a few days.

A study found that antimony is leached from PET bottles, but at levels below drinking water guidelines. The guidelines are:

See also arsenic poisoning.



Antimony pentafluoride SbF5, antimony trioxide Sb2O3, stibine (antimony trihydride SbH3), indium antimonide (InSb)

See also Antimony compounds.



  1. Priesner and Figala, entry "Antimon"
  2. Priesner and Figala, entry "Antimon"
  3. Kirk-Othmer, entry "Antimony"
  4. Kirk-Othmer, entry "Antimony"
  5. von Lippmann, pp. 35, 38, 629ff
  6. Sarton, p. 541. Sarton notes (p. 540) that the oculist Al-Ghâfiqî is not to be confused with the herbalist Abu Ja'far Ahmad ibn Muḥammad Al-Ghâfiqî. Also, Sarton warns that -- despite the work's subtitle -- the century of its composition, whether 11th or 12th, is uncertain
  7. Priesner and Figala
  8. Kirk-Othmer, entry "Antimony"
  9. Shotyk, William; Krachler, Michael; Chen, Bin Contamination of Canadian and European bottled waters with antimony from PET containers J. Environ. Monit 2006, 8, 288-292 DOI: 10.1039/b517844b

See also


External links

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