"Element 51- Antimony - Science Notes and Projects." Science Notes and Projects. Wordpress, 31 May 2013. Web. 22 Jan. 2015.
By: Lindsay Drake
Antimony basically means “not alone” when translated from greek. This is because it is barely found in its pure form in nature.This element is used for multiple purposes. Antimony is added to lead to make hard bullet lead alloys (pure lead is to soft). Johann Gutenberg was able to make reusable letter forms by mixing lead, antimony, and tin (which would solidify) in the alloy to molds. Even though it is used in these things, Antimony is toxic. When large amounts of Antimony is ingested, it produces symptoms that are similar to arsenic poising, but these symptoms are milder than arsenic.
The ancients knew about Antimony. It was even used in biblical times, in the Old Testament. Queen Jezebel used this naturally occurring sulfide as makeup. The ancient romans may have used Antimony sulfide for burns and dermatological reasons. During 1 AD Pliny wrote seven different kinds of remedies (for medicinal uses) using stibium (antimony sulfide). 15th century records show Antimony alloy's in type, bells and mirrors. In the 1600's Andreas Libavius wrote about Antimony's preparation of metallic antimony by reducing the iron. Lémery also wrote about the preparation in a chemistry textbook (published in 1675). Basil Valentine's summary of Antimony is in the same book.
We can get Antimony from stibnite (hence the symbol, Sb) by using hot Iron.
Antimony is a metalloid. Its more metallic chemically, but physically it is more like sulfur. The thermal and electrical conductivity of Antimony is lower than most of the metals conductivities. This crystalline solid is brittle and fusible. Much like water, antimony has an unusual property: it expands as it freezes (other elements that do this are silicon, bismuth, gallium, and germanium). There are three allotropes of this element; amorphous black, yellow crystalline, and explosive.
Uses of Antimony
Antimony is used in electronics to make some semiconductor devices. Other metals are also alloyed with Antimony to make the metal harder. Mixing lead with Antimony makes a bullet harder (lead alone is to soft). The alloy Lead-Antimony is used for batteries, solder,tackle (for fishing) ,electrical cable coverings,and alloys that melt at low temperatures, . Antimony alloys are also used in type metal and cable sheathing. Antimony is also used in (but in a small amount) transistors (transistors are used in things like computer games, and portable stereos). Antimony has other small/minor uses including (but not limited to) manufacturing glass, manufacturing ceramics, and in producing plastic.
According to chemistryexplained.com; "About half the antimony produced in the United States is recycled from old lead storage batteries used in cars and trucks."
Antimony in medicine
Using antimony for medicinal reasons peaked in the 1700's. For example, it was used as a nausea-inducing emetic. They created this nausea inducing emetic by leaving a piece of antimony in wine overnight, or they would leave wine in a antimony goblet. The wine would then absorb enough that the Antimony would not be a toxic dose. A dictionary definition of Antimony says : "a chemical element, atomic number 51, atomic weight 121.75. Several of its salts are used in tropical medicine as treatments for schistosomiasis; however, they must be used with caution because they are potentially poisonous, causing symptoms similar to those of Arsenic" (medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/)
Antimony's Effect on Health
Antimony is dangerous to human health. Antimony, at low levels, can irritate eyes and lungs, and cause stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach ulcers. At higher levels of antimony, it can cause lung, heart, liver, and kidney damage and at a very high level of Antimony, it may cause death.
Death of Mozart?
Antimony may have gotten composer Wolfgang Mozart into some treble with his health.The death of Mozart may have because of an overdose or Antimony tartrate, which was prescribed by his doctors. The symptoms of Mozart’s death which was swollen hands and feet, fever, server vomiting, match the Antimony poisoning symptoms exactly.
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Gray, Theodore W., and Nick Mann. "Antimony." <i>The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe</i>. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2009. 122-23. Print.
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