Antimony oxide is an inorganic compound that can refer to any of these compounds: Diantimony trioxide, Antimony trioxide, Antimony pentoxide, antimony hexitatridecoxide, and stibiconite. Antimony(III) oxide is an inorganic compound known commonly by its chemical formula Sb2O3. Its regarded as the most crucial commercial antimony compound in the market today. Sb2O3 naturally occurs as the mineral Senarmontine and Valentinite.
Similar to other polymeric oxides, Antimony oxide can dissolve in aqueous solutions through hydrolysis. On the other hand, a combined arsenic-antimony oxide naturally occurs as the mineral stibioclaudetite.
In 2012, 130,000 tonnes of antimony(III) oxide was produced, which saw an increase in output compared to 2002, where 111,2600 tonnes were produced. Currently, China is the largest antimony(III) oxide producer, followed by Mexico, Europe, the US, Japan, and other countries.
The ore’s nature, composition, and other factors affect the production choice. The usual phases are excavation, ore grinding, and crushing, occasionally accompanied by froth flotation or metal isolation through pyrometallurgical techniques or in a few situations (for instance, if the ore contains precious metals).
In ancient times antimony compounds were used to create medicines and cosmetics. However, antimony compounds have come a long way from that. Over time people discovered that more could be sorted out from their properties.
Antimony oxide has been incorporated as a raw material for various industrial products for consumer needs. This article aims to inform readers about some of the most common applications of Antimony Oxide (Sb2O3).
Applications of antimony oxide
White antimony oxide is formed as a residue of refining antimony-lead alloys through the oxidation of antimony metal or by mining and processing antimony sulfide. It occasionally acts like a metal and occasionally acts like a non-metal.
Tiny amounts of antimony oxide are utilized in the manufacture of glass to purify glasses, eliminate bubbles from optical glass, and stabilize the manufacturing of emerald green glass. In glazes made with higher temperatures, it is significantly fluxing.
Sb2O3 is utilized as an opacifier in producing porcelain enamel (mostly leadless; however, titania has partially replaced it) and ceramic glazes, and antimony oxide is employed as an opacifier. But, if the glaze includes lead, it may result in a yellowish tint because of the formation of a yellow lead antimonate compound referred to as Naples yellow.
Application of antimony oxide in the brick industry
In addition, antimony is combined with titanium or rutile to create a yellow body stain. The brick industry uses Sb2O3 to bleach red clay gaining a buff color to generate a variegated color scheme.
It is essential because, if combined with substances containing halogens, it has strong tinctorial strength (a characteristic of printing ink that defines how well the ink’s colorant can provide the ink with a specific shade of color).
Applications of antimony as an accelerant
It is utilized as an accelerator in the terylene polyester industries and plastic, dye, rubber, fiber, insulating products, chemical structural components, etc. It contains a very strong surface catalytic property.
Applications in electrical types of equipment.
Antimony Oxide has high conductivity properties, making it suitable for electro-optics, electrochromic,micro-equipment, and magnetic equipment.
Applications as an antistatic additive
Chemicals or properties called antistatic additives help keep static electricity from building up on plastic surfaces. Antistatic substances can be added to the goods or used to produce plastics.
Depending on the product’s final use, antistatic additives are employed as flame retardants and antistatic agents in paints, nanotubes, polymers, fibers, and fabrics, including electronic components, to ensure safety and performance.
The primary use of antimony oxide is as a synergistic flame retardant alongside halogenated materials. It assists in developing less combustible chars, and antimony and halides work together to give polymers their flame-retardant properties. These flame retardants can be discovered in electrical equipment, clothing, leather, and coatings.
Application as a vulcanizing agent
Rubber manufacturing includes many techniques, including the involvement of chemical reactivity and irreversible changes in its physical characteristics. Vulcanization of rubber is among these processes that are crucial in producing rubber, and antimony oxide is a critical component of its success. Antimony oxide can also be used in rubber production industries for the vulcanizing process.
Antimony oxide should be saved in a cool/dry place and sealed to prevent reaction and contamination with foreign compounds. The handler should avoid exposing antimony oxide to air for extended durations when in use. If the packaging material is as requested by the manufacturers, it should not damage the contents within or destroy the package itself. Packaging should be done in iron bags or as required by the clients.