Antimony is a p-block element which is a metalloid having a molar mass of 121.76 u. let us discuss the uses of antimony in various industries in the following part.
The uses of antimony in different industries are listed below –
- Flame Retardant
- Metal Batteries
- Dehydrating agent
- Non-metallic industry
- Alloy industry
- Polymer industry
- Glass and ceramic industry
- Nuclear Industry
- As a flame retardant agent to prevent fire for any compounds.
- Antimony trioxide itself has no flame-retardant property, but when it is combined with halogenated (brominated, chlorinated) flame-retardant compounds it provides the most effective and widely used flame-retardant system for plastics.
- In lead-acid batteries, antimony is used as the primary metal.
- The sodium antimonate metal complex of antimony is mainly used for the cathode ray tube glass.
- In the earlier antimony is used for cast metal printing, mirrors, bell metals, and pigments.
- Other metallurgical applications of antimony metal are in solders, fusible alloys, type metals, lead weights, rolled and extruded antimony alloys, pewter, Britannia metal, shot.
- The halogenated antimony compounds act as dehydrating agents and inhibit ignition and pyrolysis in the solid, liquid, and gas phases.
- Chlorinated antimony compounds are used for the formation of char on the substrate, which acts as a barrier and reduces oxygen availability and volatile gas formation.
- Antimony is often used in plastics, with smaller amounts in rubber, textiles, paints, sealants, and adhesives.
- Antimony in non-metallic uses ATO (antimony trioxide) as a heat stabilizer in PVC (polyvinyl chloride).
- The non-metallurgical uses of antimony are including lubricants, ammunition primers, textiles, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, fluorescent lamps, fireworks and matches, zinc electrowinning, and the refining of sour crude oil.
- Very high-purity antimony (5 N to 7 N) is increasingly being used in the semiconductor industry as a dopant for ultra-high conductivity n-type silicon wafers which are utilized in diodes, infrared detectors, and Hall-effect devices.
- The antimony is used in the emitters and collectors of n-p-n alloy junction transistors were doped with tiny beads of a lead-antimony alloy.
- Antimony is used as a fining agent to remove microscopic bubbles in the glass, mostly for TV screens antimony ions interact with oxygen, suppressing the tendency of the latter to form bubbles.
- Antimony is used in iridium antimonide as a material for mid-infrared detectors.
- Antimony alloyed with lead was used as bearing metal (Babbitt metal) and, alloyed with tin, to produce Britannia metal used in items such as eating utensils, teapots, and candlesticks
- Metallic antimony is used in lead alloys adding hardness and smoothness of finish. The higher the proportion of antimony in the alloy, the harder and more brittle it will be the alloy.
- Antimony is used in antifriction alloys (such as Babbitt metal) in bullets and leads shot, electrical cable sheathing, type metal (for example, for linotype printing machines), solder (some “lead-free” solders containing 5% Sb) in pewter and hardening alloys with low tin content in the manufacturing of organ pipes.
- To improve the hardness and tensile strength of the lead keel, antimony is mixed with lead between 2% and 5% by volume.
- The antimony alloys used for expanding on cooling are the basis of their use in some applications such as making typefaces for printing.
- It is also used to harden low-tin alloys, reduce friction and wear in bearing alloys in machinery and improve the durability of lead sheathing for cables.
- The oxide of antimony (antimony trioxide) is used for the production of PET (polyethylene terephthalate).
- Antimony is also used for the formation of catalysts in the production of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is used in the manufacture of synthetic textiles (polyester) and plastic containers, such as drinking bottles, and polyester film mostly used for packaging.
Glass and ceramic industry
- ATO (antimony trioxide) is also used in the glass and ceramics sector as a degassing agent and as an opacifier in porcelain enamels and pottery glazes.
- Sodium antimonate [NaSb(OH)6] is mainly used as a fining and degassing agent in the production of high-quality clear glass.
- Antimony has antisolarant properties which are used for protection against coloring caused by sunlight or fluorescent lights during the lifetime of the glass.
- Sodium antimonate is also used for decoloring glass as it removes traces of iron which can give rise to a greenish tint.
- The antimonate decomposes in the molten glass generating large bubbles which rise to the surface scavenging much slower-moving fine bubbles and leading to the purification and homogenization of the glass batch.
- In addition, antimony is used for improving the charging characteristics and reducing the generation of unwanted hydrogen during charging.
- Antimony (III) sulfide is used for the making of safety matches where red phosphorous has not been used.
- Antimony is used for the resistance of a compound from cold acid.
- It is also used for the dissolution of some strong acids in aqua regia.
- Antimony is used for the expansion of the freezing point of certain elements like silicon, germanium, bismuth, etc.
- Antimony trisulfides are used in artillery projectiles and the generation of a white cloud on detonation.
- Antimony is used for smoke-suppressant compounds and formulations and as feed for metal and trioxide production.
- Antimony sulfides help to stabilize the friction coefficient in automotive brake pad materials so it is used in small aircraft.
- The isotope of antimony, 124Sb is used along with beryllium in neutron sources.
- Natural antimony is used in startup neutron sources. The emitted neutrons have an average energy of 24 keV.
Antimony is a metalloid present in the nitrogen family of the pnictogen group. It is readily reactive and can form pentavalent compounds. The important molecule of antimony is stibine (SbH3) which can behave as a lewis base and be used as an oxidizing agent.