Antimony

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Antimony

This is antimony.

Symbol Sb
Atomic number 51
Atomic mass 121.75 amu

Antimony was discovered about 1450. It is a brittle, lustrous metalloid.

Occurrence

Most antimony, like arsenic and bismuth, occur in nature in the form of sulfide minerals. Most antimony is obtained from the sulfide ore, stibnite, and hence is given the symbol Sb.

Stibnite

Stibnite, Sb2O3, is the most abundant ore of antimony. It occurs in low temperature hydrothermal veins and in hot springs. The finest stibnite is found in the Ichinokawa mines in Japan. Other sources of stibnite are from France, Italy, Romania, China and USA.

Antimony is sometimes found in minor amounts in ores of various metals, such as:

Usage

For many years, antimony is used for cosmetic purposes such as eyebrow pencil. The principal uses of antimony include:

  • mixing a small amount of antimony (6% antimony, and 94% lead) in the "lead" plates used in lead storage batteries. The small amount of antimony makes the plates much more resistant to attack by the acid, H2SO4.
  • mixing antimony with tin, and lead for use in type metal.
  • mixing antimony with tin, and copper such as (Sb-Sn-Cu) are used in antifriction machine bearings.
  • mixing 10% and 20% of antimony in lead hardens lead in artillery shells known as shrapnel.

See also

Periodic table of the elements