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Chemical Fact Sheet

Antimony

Chemical Abstract Number (CAS #) 7440-36-0
Synonyms ANTIMONY-BLACK; ANTIMONY,-REGULUS; ANTYMON- (POLISH); CI-77050; REGULUS-OF-ANTIMONY; STIBIUM
Analytical Methods 200.7 - 200.8 - 6010 - 6020 - 204.2
Atomic Symbol Sb

Synopsis from the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics 92nd Edition 2011-2013

Antimony (Gr. anti plus monos - a metal not found alone), Sb; at. wt. 121.760(1); at. no. 51; m.p. 630.63 C; b.p. 1587 C; sp. gr. 6.68 (20 C); valence 0, 3, +3, or +5. Antimony was recognized in compounds by the ancients and was known as a metal at the beginning of the 17th century and possibly much earlier. It is not abundant, but is found in over 100 mineral species. It is sometimes found native, but more frequently as the sulfide, stibnite (Sb2S3); it is also found as antimonides of the heavy metals, and as oxides. It is extracted from the sulfide by roasting to the oxide, which is reduced by salt and scrap iron; from its oxides it is also prepared by reduction with carbon. Two allotropic forms of antimony exist: the normal stable, metallic form, and the amorphous gray form. The so-called explosive antimony is an ill-defined material always containing an appreciable amount of halogen; therefore, it no longer warrants consideration as a separate allotrope. The yellow form, obtained by oxidation of stibine, SbH3, is probably impure, and is not a distinct form. Natural antimony is made of two stable isotopes, 121Sb and 123Sb. Forty-five other radioactive isotopes and isomers are now recognized. Metallic antimony is an extremely brittle metal of a flaky, crystalline texture. It is bluish white and has a metallic luster. It is not acted on by air at room temperature, but burns brilliantly when heated with the formation of white fumes of Sb2O3. It is a poor conductor of heat and electricity, and has a hardness of 3 to 3.5. Antimony, available commercially with a purity of 99.999 + %, is finding use in semiconductor technology for making infrared detectors, diodes, and Hall-effect devices. Commercial-grade antimony is widely used in alloys with percentages ranging from 1 to 20. It greatly increases the hardness and mechanical strength of lead. Batteries, antifriction alloys, type metal, small arms and tracer bullets, cable sheathing, and minor products use about half the metal produced. Compounds taking up the other half are oxides, sulfides, sodium antimonate, and antimony trichloride. These are used in manufacturing flame-proofing compounds, paints, ceramic enamels, glass, and pottery. Tartar emetic (hydrated potassium antimonyl tartrate) has been used in medicine. Antimony and many of its compounds are toxic. Antimony costs about $1.30/kg for the commercial metal or about $12/g (99.999%).
Use MANUFACTURE OF WHITE METAL, TYPE, BULLETS, BEARING METAL; IN FIREWORKS, THERMOELECTRIC PILES; COATING METAL, BLACKENING IRON High purity antimony (>99.999%) has a limited but important application in the manufacture of semiconductor devices. When alloyed with elements of Group III-A, the III-V compounds are formed; these have important applications as infrared devices, diodes, and Hall effect devices. PRINCIPALLY IN ALLOYS WITH LEAD FOR STORAGE BATTERY GRIDS; IN ALLOYS WITH OTHER METALS FOR ELECTRICAL & OTHER USES; CHEM INTERMED FOR OTHER ANTIMONY AGENTS, FIRE RETARDANT CMPD, CERAMIC & GLASS ADDITIVES, PAINT PIGMENTS, RUBBER VULCANIZATION AGENTS. ALLOYS ARE THE PREDOMINANT USE OF ANTIMONY METAL BECAUSE ITS BRITTLENESS MAKES DIRECT USE IMPRACTICAL.
Consumption Patterns (PRIMARY ANTIMONY): 44% WAS USED IN TRANSPORTATION APPLICATIONS, MOSTLY STORAGE BATTERY GRIDS; 15% AS A CHEM INTERMED FOR FIRE-RETARDANT CMPD; 9% AS A CHEM INTERMED FOR RUBBER VULCANIZATION AGENTS; 6% AS A CHEM INTERMED FOR CERAMIC & GLASS ADDITIVES; 17% AS A CHEM INTERMED FOR OTHER ANTIMONY CMPD; 5% IN ALLOYS FOR MACHINERY; & 4% IN MISC USES (1974) FLAME RETARDANTS, 60%; TRANSPORTATION INCLUDING BATTERIES, 10%; CERAMICS & GLASS, 10%; CHEMICALS, 10%; AND OTHER, 10% (1985)
Apparent Color SILVER-WHITE, LUSTROUS, HARD, BRITTLE METAL; SCALE- LIKE CRYSTALLINE STRUCTURE OR DARK GRAY, LUSTROUS POWDER; HEXAGONAL; BLUISH TINGE, AND EITHER A COARSELY LAMINATED OR GRANULAR STRUCTURE; BESIDES THE STABLE METAL THERE ARE 2 ALLOTROPES: YELLOW CRYSTALLINE AND AMORPHOUS BLACK MODIFICATIONS; Extremely brittle and slightly pulverizing.
Boiling Point 1635 DEG C
Melting Point 630 DEG C
Molecular Weight 121.75
Density 6.684 @ 25 DEG C

Chemical and

Physical Properties

NOT AFFECTED BY COLD DIL ACIDS, ATTACKED BY HOT CONCN SULFURIC ACID, READILY BY AQUA REGIA; SPECIFIC HEAT 0.049 FINELY DIVIDED REACTS WITH HOT CONCN HYDROCHLORIC ACID. 2 NATURALLY OCCURRING ISOTOPES: 121 (57.25%); 123 (42.75%); VALENCES: 3, 5. WHEN MELTED FORMS VOLATILE OXIDE, OXIDIZED BY STEAM OR STRONGLY OXIDIZING SALTS. BURNS WITH BLUISH-WHITE FLAME WITHOUT VOLATILIZING; AT 900 DEG C IN PRESENCE OF OXYGEN GIVES OFF FUMES WITH GARLIC SMELL MOHS HARDNESS 3-3.5 Latent heat of fusion 19,866 J/mol; Electric resistivity= 37 micro-ohm-cm @ 0 deg C; Magnetic susceptibility @ 18 deg C= -99.0X10-6 centimeters-gram-second; Specific heat @ 25 deg C= 25.2 Joules/mole.Kelvin; Thermal conductivity @ 0 deg C= 25.9 Watt/meter.Kelvin Specific heat (liquid) @ 2000 deg Kelvin: 0.062 cal/g deg C. The black amorphous modification exists only at low temperatures.

Environmental Impact

LEAD-ANTIMONY ALLOY IS USED LARGELY IN MANUFACTURE OF STORAGE BATTERY GRIDS, PEWTER & BRITANNIA METAL, PRINTER'S TYPE, LEAD SHOT, LEAD ELECTRODES AND BEARING METALS. IN MANY OF THESE PROCESSES THE GREATEST EXPOSURE IS TO ANTIMONY METAL DUST AND FUME. Antimony process workers run the highest risk to inhale antimonials. HAZARDOUS EXPOSURES HAVE BEEN REPORTED IN MINERS OF ANTIMONY ORE IN SOME PARTS OF THE WORLD. EXPOSURES IN THE PAST (UP TO 1960) IN MINING, CONCENTRATING AND SMELTING HAVE BEEN COMPLICATED BY THE PRESENCE OF VERY CONSIDERABLE AMOUNTS OF ARSENIC AND SULFUR DIOXIDE MIXED WITH COPPER, LEAD AND SELENIUM, A CONDITION NO LONGER EXISTING IN PRESENT DAY REFINERIES. WITH REGARD TO HEALTH HAZARD EVALUATION OF ANTIMONY EXPOSURES, A CLEAR DISTINCTION SHOULD BE MADE BETWEEN HAZARDS FROM EXPOSURES IN SMELTING AND REFINING AND THOSE IN HANDLING AND USE OF THE PRODUCT. IN ANOTHER CLASS OF EXPOSURES, ANTIMONY ALLOYS, FOUNDRY WORKERS, AND TYPESETTERS MAY BE EXPOSED TO ANTIMONY FUMES, AND RUBBER COMPOUNDERS MAY SUFFER EXPOSURE TO ANTIMONY COMPOUNDS.

Environmental Fate

Antimony occurs in the earth's crust as about 2X10-1 to 10X10-1 mg/kg and in seawater at about 2X10-4 mg/kg. It is found mainly as sulfides and oxides, sometimes as native metal. About 114 minerals containing antimony are known. Other common ores containing antimony are cervantite, valentinite, livingstonite, jamisonite, and kermesite. Concentrations of antimony range from 0.5-5 ppm in coal and 30-107 ppm in petroleum. Industrial dust and exhaust gases of cars and oil fuels are the main sources of antimony in urban air. n soil, antimony usually ranges from 0.1 to 10 mg/kg dry weight. Sludges used for manuring soils in Indiana (USA) or collected near Vienna (Austria) from the Danube River contained antimony concentrations between 4 and 22 mg/kg dried sample. The average range of antimony in dry soils is 2-10 ppm. Acute antimony poisoning can occur from exposure in industrial operations and from contamination of food containers. Antimony migrates only in traces from pottery into drinks. The concentrations of antimony and other elements in human milk obtained from subjects in Italy. More than 130 samples were obtained from 21 women for about 2 to 3 months starting 15 days after childbirth. A mean + or - standard deviation of 3.0 + or - 0.4 ng antimony/g of milk (wet basis) was reported for 49 samples of milk obtained from 16 women with antimony levels above the detection limit of 0.05 ng antimony/g. Antimony values ranged from less than 0.05 to 12.9 ng/g among the 21 subjects.

Drinking Water

Impact

In the river Rhine, antimony averages 0.1 ug/l. A level of 0.2 ug/l has been reported from the northeastern Pacific Ocean. SEAWATER: CONCENTRATION OF STABLE ANTIMONY IN NORTH ADRIATIC COASTAL WATERS (YUGOSLAVIA) WAS INVESTIGATED BY NEUTRON ACTIVATION TECHNIQUE. THE FOLLOWING CONCENTRATIONS WERE OBTAINED: 0.31 UG ANTIMONY/CU DM FOR FILTERED SEA WATER, AND 45 UG ANTIMONY/CU DM FOR NON-FILTERED SEA WATER.

Disposal

At the time of review, criteria for land treatment or burial (sanitary landfill) disposal practices are subject to significant revision. Prior to implementing land disposal of waste residue (including waste sludge), consult with environmental regulatory agencies for guidance on acceptable disposal practices. Treatment and disposal methods: Chemical treatment, precipitation, recycling. Dissolve in a minimum amount of concentrated hydrochloric acid (HCl) . Add to water until the appearance of white precipitate. Add 6M hydrochloric acid just to dissolve again. Saturate with hydrogen sulfide. After filtration, wash the precipitate, dry, package, and return to suppliers. The following wastewater treatment technologies have been investigated for antimony: Chemical precipitation.

Atmosphere

In Chicago concentrations of antimony in air ranging from 1.4 to 55 ng/cu m and an average of 32 ng/cu m, respectively /have been reported/. Somewhat lower levels (0.4 to 4 ng/cu m) were reported from 7 different sites in the United Kingdom. Urban air contains 0.05-0.06 ppm antimony. FOLLOWING THE INSTALLATION OF AIR POLLUTION CONTROL DEVICES ON ANTIMONY SMELTERS, ONLY A TRACE AMOUNT OF ANTIMONY PASSES THROUGH THE FILTER-SCRUBBER.


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