It is toxic and an irritant to the skin and the mucous membranes.).
Antimony compounds have been known since ancient times and were used for cosmetics; metallic antimony was also known, but it was erroneously identified as lead.
The industrial methods to produce antimony are roasting and subsequent carbothermal reduction or direct reduction of stibnite with iron.
The largest applications for metallic antimony are as alloying material for lead and tin and for lead antimony plates in lead-acid batteries.
When scratched with a sharp implement, an exothermic reaction occurs and white fumes are given off as metallic antimony is formed; when rubbed with a pestle in a mortar, a strong detonation occurs.
Black antimony is formed upon rapid cooling of vapour derived from metallic antimony.
The yellow allotrope of antimony is the most unstable.
It has only been generated by oxidation of stibine (Sb Hm No.
An artifact, said to be part of a vase, made of antimony dating to about 3000 BC was found at Telloh, Chaldea (part of present-day Iraq), and a copper object plated with antimony dating between 2500 BC and 2200 BC has been found in Egypt.
commented 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' (artifact mentioned above) must represent the lost art of rendering antimony malleable." However, Moorey was unconvinced the artefact was indeed a vase, mentioning that Selimkhanov, after his analysis of the Tello object (published in 1975), "attempted to relate the metal to Transcaucasian natural antimony" (i.e.
The book Currus Triumphalis Antimonii (The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony), describing the preparation of metallic antimony, was published in Germany in 1604.
It was purported to have been written by a Benedictine monk, writing under the name Basilius Valentinus, in the 15th century; if it were authentic, it would predate Biringuccio.
It has the same crystal structure as red phosphorus and black arsenic, it oxidizes in air and may ignite spontaneously.