Antimony oxychloride

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Antimony oxychloride[1]
Antimony oxychloride solid.JPG
IUPAC name
antimony oxide chloride
ECHA InfoCard 100.029.308
Molar mass 173.21 g/mol
Melting point 280 °C (536 °F; 553 K)
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Antimony oxychloride, known since the 15th century, has been known by a plethora of alchemical names. Since the compound functions as both an emetic and a laxative, it was originally used as a purgative.


Its production was first described by Basil Valentine in Currus Triumphalis Antimonii. In 1659 Johann Rudolf Glauber gave a relatively exact chemical interpretation of the reaction.

Vittorio Algarotti introduced the substance into medicine, and derivatives of his name (algarot, algoroth) were associated with this compound for many years.

The exact composition was unknown for a very long time. The suggestion of SbOCl being a mixture of antimony trichloride and antimony oxide or pure SbOCl were raised. Today the hydrolysis of antimony trichloride is understood; first the SbOCl oxychloride is formed which later forms Sb4O5Cl2.

Alternative historical names[edit]

  • mercurius vitæ ("mercury of life")
  • powder of algaroth
  • algarel
  • Pulvis angelicus.


Dissolving antimony trichloride in water yields antimony oxychloride:

SbCl3 + H2O → SbOCl + 2 HCl


  1. ^ Nurgaliev, B. Z.; Popovkin, B. A.; Novoselova, A. V. (1981). "Physiochemical analysis of antimony trioxide–antimony trichloride, antimony trioxide–antimony tribromide systems". Zhurnal Neorganicheskoi Khimii. 26 (4): 1043–1047. 

Further reading[edit]