What Is Antimony Trisulfide Used For?

Antimony Ore

What is Antimony Trisulphide?


Antimony trisulfide occurs in nature as a crystalline mineral called stibnite and an amorphous mineraloid called metastabinite. Its chemical formula is Sb2 S3 which crystallizes in an orthorhombic system whereby every sb atom binds to three oxygen atoms to form a trigonal pyramid.

Antimony trisulfide presents a greyish color and appears as a black orthorhombic crystal. It is insoluble in water but soluble in concentrated acids. It’s a stable compound; however, it’s incompatible with moisture, acids, or water since it can react to produce poisonous hydrogen sulfide.

Historically antimony trisulfide stibnite form was used to make grey pigment in paintings. John Mercer, a fabric and dye chemist, was the first to discover Antimony Orange, which is a non-stoichiometric compound. Antimony Orange was the first best orange pigment applied to cotton fabrics for printing.

Antimony trisulfide is currently applied in various industries for different uses. It’s considered a very effective sulfide applied in the friction industry. Antimony trisulfide oxidation change of state, oxidation formation, and lubrication effect are factors that make it desirable to a host of industries. Today we will be discussing its uses and applications across various industries.

Antimony trisulfide applications and uses


Antimony trisulfide thin films have shown promise to be used as materials in producing thermoelectric cooling devices, microwaves, optoelectronic devices, television cameras, diodes, solar cell applications, and photoconductive target technology. Materials using 1.6 eV to 2.46 eV band gap values are traits perfect for top tandem power cell applications.

Applications in fireworks, ammunition, and matches


A form of antimony trisulfide (Chinese needles) is used to generate glittery white stars that can be observed on a lit firework. Antimony trisulfide increases the flash powder’s sensitivity while sharpening the booming sound. However, caution should be applied when handling the (dark pyro) because it’s extremely sensitive to shock, static electricity, and poisonous.

A match stick head contains chemicals that ignite by the little hit produced when friction is applied. Combining potassium and antimony trisulfide brings about ignition; however, antimony trisulfide does not contain explosive properties but is used as a chemical reagent. Antimony trisulphide is also applied in the production of military ammunition.

Vulcanizing agent


Antimony trisulphide can also be applied in the rubber industry for vulcanization. Rubber production involves various operations that include the addition of chemical reactivity, flow, and irreversible changes in physical properties. Vulcanizing rubber is one of these processes crucial to developing the end product. Vulcanization is the process of heating chemicals with rubber, an activator, and an accelerator at 140 degrees – 160 degrees.

The process induces cross-links formation between rubber molecules to achieve elasticity, tensile strength, resilience, hardness, viscosity, and weather resistance. Antimony trisulphide is not a common chemical in this process, but it’s used as an agent.

Applications in other industries


Antimony trisulfide can be used to produce fire-retardant formulations in plastics, paper, textiles, rubber, and paints. It can also be applied as an additive in ceramic and glass products.

How is antimony trisulfide produced?


A large sum of antimony trisulfide found on the market is sourced from its natural Ore (kyanite). This occurs when kyanite is melted, whereby the antimony trisulfide settles in the bottom while the impurities like gangue separate and rise. This method contains large amounts of impurities, including lead quartz, lead, and arsenic.

It can also be produced through baking and mixing antimony metal powder with sulfur. The method involves precipitating antimony trisulfide by adding antimony trioxide to a solution of aqueous sodium sulfide, which is then passed to hydrogen sulfide.

Antimony trisulfide is assumed to have originated in china. However, a multitude of nations around the globe produces antimony trisulfide, for example, Bolivia, China, Mexico, France, UK, among others.

How to handle  Antimony trisulfide


Acute poisoning by antimony trisulfide can happen to people who are exposed to the industries mentioned above. It can harm your skin and eyes if not handled with care. Also, ingested or inhaled can cause lung, stomach, or heart issues. However, the level of exposure depends on various factors, including work done, duration, and dose. Companies or employees dealing with Antimony trisulphide should employ safety measures to avoid exposures.

Packaging storage and transportation


Antimony trisulfide should be stored in a cool and dry place that is sealed to avoid contamination or reaction with other compounds. In case of use, avoid exposure to air for long durations. Packaging should be done in iron material jump bags or as requested by the clients as long as the packaging material does not react with the antimony trisufide.

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