Name: Antimony
Symbol: Sb
Atomic Number: 51
Atomic Weight: 121.760000
Family: Metalloids
CAS RN: 7440-36-0
Description: A brittle silvery metal
State (25C): Solid
Oxidation states:  3, +5

Molar Volume: 18.22 cm3/mole
Valence Electrons: 5p3

Boiling Point:  1860K, 1587C, 2889F
Melting Point:
904.05K, 630.9C, 1167.6F
Electrons Energy Level: 2, 8, 18, 18, 5
Isotopes: 35 + 2 Stable + 13 meta states
Heat of Vaporization: 77.14 kJ/mol
Heat of Fusion: 19.87 kJ/mol
Density: 6.684 g/cm3 @ 300K
Specific Heat: 0.21 J/gK
Atomic Radius: 1.53
Ionic Radius: 0.76
Electronegativity: 2.05 (Pauling); 1.82 (Allrod Rochow)
Vapor Pressure: 2.49E-09 Pa @ 630.9C
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.

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.

1s2 2s2p6 3s2p6d10 4s2p6d10 5s2p3

Sb.gif (1482 bytes)

Alchemical Symbol


Scientific study of the element began during the early 17th. century, much of the important work being done by Nicolas Lemery. The name of the element comes from the Greek anti + monos for "not alone", while the modern symbol is rooted in the Latin-derived name of the common ore.

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Jons Jakob Berzelius

The chemical pioneer Jons 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 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.  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 Vanoccio 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.

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Additional Representations of Alchemical Symbols 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 Thlde (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 Thlde himself, used to merge poorly-translated materials of various origins.

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Basilius Valentinus

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.

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 (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.  The pure metalloid was usually confused with Lead.  The Sulfide was called Stibi or stimmi in Ancient Greek, stibium in Latin ("stibium" was used by Pliny in 50 AD.  In Arabic, powdered Stibnite is kuhl, whence English kohl; but in time, ithmid 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".  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".  An Arab-Spanish ophthalmologist, Muhammad ibn Qassm ibn Aslam Al-Ghfiq, 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-ihmid (where al- means "the").  This is not to say that this Al-Ghfiq 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.


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 Tons % 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,  mtal contenue dans les minerais et concentrs, source : L'tat du monde 2005

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


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.

2s2 2p6
3s2 3p6 3d10
4s2 4p6 4d10
5s2 5p3

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.


Minerals & Compounds of Antimony
Stibnite, Antimony (III) Trisulfide, Sb2S3
Valentinite, Antimony (III) Trioxide, Sb2O3
Stibiconite, Sb2O3(OH)2
Stibine (Antimony Trihydride, SbH3
Sodium Antimony Tartrate, Na(SbO)C4H4O6
Antimony Pentafluoride, SbF5 Indium Antimonide, InSb
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Alchemical Substances of Antimony, Stibnum

Antimony Black:  Metallic antimony.

Antimony Blende:  Kermesite, an antimony oxysulphide, also called red antimony, formed in some mines as an alteration prduct of stibnite as soft tufts of cherry-red crystals.

Antimony Bloom:  White antimony, or antimony trioxide, which appears as the mineral Valentinite.

Antimony Glance: Gray antimony, another name for a form of stibnite.

Antimony Ochre:  Stibiconite, an Antimony mineral, Sb2O3(OH)2, which can appear in Brown, Gray, Lemon white, Light yellow, Orange brown, forms.  Also more rarely, Cervantite, another mineral oxide of antimony, found in Germany and usually of a brownish yellow color.

Antimony Vermilion:   A red or orange colloidal antimony sulphide pigment precipitated from an antimonial solution. Ranged in hues from orange to deep red.

Butter of Antimony:  Antimony trichloride, in the form of a waxy paste or translucent fatty mass.

Crocus of Antimony:  A brownish-yellow impure sulphide of antimony and sodium, formed as a scoria or slag in the smelting of antimony.

Flowers of Antimony:  Name for the crystals of the trioxide formed when the metal is sublimed.

Glass of Antimony:  A vitreous oxide of antimony mixed with sulphide, made by melting antimony trisulphide and trioxide together in a crucible.

Kermes Mineral: A soft brown-red powder consisting essentially of oxides and sulphides of antimony and used formerly as an alterative, diaphoretic, and emetic.  It is a compound of antimony trioxide and trisulphide.  This substance occurs in nature as the mineral Kermesite.  It can be made obtained in the laboratory by the actions of Potassium Carbonate (K2CO3) on antimony Sulphide.

Liver of Antimony:  Fused antimony sulphide.  Usually produced from the detonation of equal parts of crude antimony and nitre (potassium nitrate).

Lupus Metallorum:  The grey wolf or stibnite, used to purify gold, as the sulphur in the antimony sulphide bonds to the metals alloyed with the gold, and these form a slag which can be removed.  The gold remains dissolved in the metallic antimony which can be boiled off to leave the purified gold.

Plimmer's Salt:  Sodium Antimony Tartrate, Na(SbO)C4H4O6.   The sodium based form of Tartar Emetic.

Powder of Algaroth:  White powder of Antimonious Oxychloride (SbOCl), made by precipitation when a solution of Butter of Antimony in spirit of salt is poured into water.

Red Flowers of Antimony:  A form of antimony sulphide.

Regulus of Antimony:  Metallic antimony.

Saffron of Antimony:  Golden sulphide of antimony, or Golden sulphuret of antimony, the pentasulphide of antimony, which is of a golden or orange yellow powder.

Tartar Emetic: Antimony Potassium Tartrate, a soluble poisonous compound of antimony which induces vomiting. Transparent crystals or a white powder, with a metallic sweetish taste.  It promotes sweating.  Used also as a mordant in dyeing.

Vinegar of Antimony:  Supposed acetate of antimony mentioned in texts of Basil Valentine.  An triacetate of antimony exists but it is unstable being easily hydrolised by moisture. It requires modern chemical methods in order to manufacture it, and it does not seem possible be make it by the action of acetic acid on antimony.

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Atomic Mass
103Sb 102.93969 ~100 ms
104Sb 103.93647 0.47 s
105Sb 104.93149 1.12 s
106Sb 105.92879 0.6 s
107Sb 106.92415 4.0 s
108Sb 107.92216 7.4 s
109Sb 108.918132 17.3 s
110Sb 109.91675 23.0 s
111Sb 110.91316 75 s
112Sb 111.912398 51.4 s
113Sb 112.909372 6.67 min
114Sb 113.90927 3.49 min
115Sb 114.906598 32.1 min
116Sb 115.906794 15.8 min
116m2Sb   60.3 min
117Sb 116.904836 2.80 h
118Sb 117.905529 3.6 min
118m2Sb   5.00 h
119Sb 118.903942 38.19 h
120Sb 119.905072 15.89 min
120m1Sb   5.76 d
121Sb 120.9038157 STABLE
122Sb 121.9051737 2.7238 d
122m3Sb   4.191 min
123Sb 122.9042140 STABLE
124Sb 123.9059357 60.20 d
124m1Sb   93 s
124m2Sb   20.2 min
125Sb 124.9052538 2.75856 y
126Sb 125.90725 12.35 d
126m1Sb   19.15 min
126m2Sb   ~11 s
127Sb 126.906924 3.85 d
128Sb 127.909169 9.01 h
128mSb   10.4 min
129Sb 128.909148 4.40 h
129m1Sb   17.7 min
130Sb 129.911656 39.5 min
130mSb   6.3 min
131Sb 130.911982 23.03 min
132Sb 131.914467 2.79 min
132m1Sb   4.15 min
133Sb 132.915252 2.5 min
134Sb 133.92038 0.78 s
134mSb   10.07 s
135Sb 134.92517 1.68 s
136Sb 135.93035 0.923 s
137Sb 136.93531 450 ms
138Sb 137.94079 ~500 ms
139Sb 138.94598 ~300 ms


40px-Skull_and_crossbones.svg.jpg (1420 bytes) 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.  Larger doses cause violent and frequent vomiting, and will lead to death in a few days.

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Antimony Data


Atomic Structure

Atomic Radius (): 1.53
Atomic Volume cm3/mol : 18.23cm3/mol
Covalent Radius: 1.41
Crystal Structure: Rhombohedral
Ionic Radius: 0.76

Chemical Properties

Electrochemical Equivalents: 1.5142 g/amp-hr
Electron Work Function: 4.55eV
Electronegativity: 2.05 (Pauling); 1.82 (Allrod Rochow)
Heat of Fusion: 19.87 kJ/mol
Incompatibilities: Strong Oxidizers, Acids, Halogenated Acids
First Ionization Potential: 8.641
Second Ionization Potential: 16.53
Third Ionization Potential: 25.3
Valence Electron Potential: 57
Ionization Energy (eV): 8.64 eV

Physical Properties

Atomic Mass Average: 121.757
Boiling Point: 1860K, 1587C, 2889F
Melting Point: 904.05K, 630.9C, 1167.6F
Heat of Vaporization: 77.14 kJ/mol
Coefficient of Lineal Thermal Expansion/K-1: 8.5E-6
Electrical Conductivity: 0.0288 106/cm
Thermal Conductivity: 0.243 W/cmK
Density: 6.684 g/cm3 @ 300K
Enthalpy of Atomization: 263.6 kJ/mole @ 25C
Enthalpy of Fusion: 19.87 kJ/mole
Enthalpy of Vaporization: 67.9 kJ/mole
Flammability Class: Non-Combustible Solid (except as dust)
Molar Volume: 18.22 cm3/mole
Optical Refractive Index: unknown
Relative Gas Density (Air=1): unknown
Specific Heat: 0.21 J/gK
Vapor Pressure: 2.49E-09 Pa @ 630.9C
Estimated Crustal Abundance: 210-1 milligrams per kilogram
Estimated Oceanic Abundance: 2.410-4 milligrams per liter