Antimony trisulfide

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Antimony trisulfide
IUPAC name
diantimony trisulfide, antimony(III) sulfide
Other names
antimony sulfide, antimonous sufide, antimony sesquisulfide, antimony vermilion, black antimony, sulphuret of antimony
Molar mass 339.715
Appearance grey / black orthorhombic crystal (stibnite)
Density 6.5g cm−3 (stibnite)[1]
Melting point 620 °C (1,148 °F; 893 K) (stibnite)[1]
US health exposure limits (NIOSH):
PEL (Permissible)
TWA 0.5 mg/m3 (as Sb)[2]
REL (Recommended)
TWA 0.5 mg/m3 (as Sb)[2]
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Infobox references

Antimony trisulfide Sb2S3 is found in nature as the crystalline mineral stibnite and the amorphous red mineral metastibnite.[3] It is manufactured for use in safety matches, military ammunition, explosives and fireworks. It also is used in the production of ruby-colored glass and in plastics as a flame retardant.[4] Historically the stibnite form was used as a grey pigment in paintings produced in the 16th century.[5] It is a semiconductor with a direct band gap of 1.8-2.5 eV. With suitable doping p and n type materials can be produced.[6]

Preparation and reactions[edit]

Sb2S3 can be prepared from the elements at temperature 500-900 °C:[4]

2Sb + 3S → Sb2S3

Sb2S3 is precipitated when H2S is passed through an acidified solution of Sb(III).[7] This reaction has been used as a gravimetric method for determining antimony, bubbling H2S through a solution of Sb(III) compound in hot HCl deposits an orange form of Sb2S3 which turns black under the reaction conditions.[8]

Sb2S3 is readily oxidised, reacting vigorously with oxidising agents.[4] It burns in air with a blue flame. It reacts with incandescence with cadmium, magnesium and zinc chlorates. Mixtures of Sb2S3 and chlorates may explode.[9]

In the extraction of antimony from antimony ores the alkaline sulfide process is employed where Sb2S3 reacts to form thioantimonate(III) salts (also called thioantimonite):[10]

3Na2S + Sb2S3 → 2Na3SbS3

A number of salts containing different thioantimonate(III) ions can be prepared from Sb2S3 these include:[11]

[SbS3]3−, [SbS2], [Sb2S5]4−, [Sb4S9]6−, [Sb4S7]2− and [Sb8S17]10−

"Schlippe's salt", Na3SbS4·9H2O, a thioantimonate(V) salt is formed when Sb2S3 is boiled with sulfur and sodium hydroxide. The reaction can be represented as:[7]

Sb2S3 + 3S2− + 2S → 2[SbS4]3−


The structure of the black needle like form of Sb2S3, stibnite, consists of linked ribbons in which antimony atoms are in two different coordination environments, trigonal pyramidal and square pyramidal.[7] Similar ribbons occur in Bi2S3 and Sb2Se3.[12] The red form, metastibnite, is amorphous. Recent work suggests that there are a number of closely related temperature dependant structures of stibnite which have been termed stibnite(I) the high temperature form, identified previously, stibnite (II) and stibnite(III).[13] Other paper shows that the actual coordination polyhedra of antimony are in fact SbS7, with (3+4) coordination at the M1 site and (5+2) at the M2 site. These coordinations consider the presence of secondary bonds. Some of the secondary bonds impart cohesion and are connected with packing.[14]


  1. ^ a b Lide, David R., ed. (2006). CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (87th ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. ISBN 0-8493-0487-3. 
  2. ^ a b "NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards #0036". National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). 
  4. ^ a b c Greenwood, Norman N.; Earnshaw, Alan (1997). Chemistry of the Elements (2nd ed.). Butterworth-Heinemann. pp. 581–582. ISBN 0-08-037941-9. 
  5. ^ Eastaugh, Nicholas (2004). Pigment Compendium: A Dictionary of Historical Pigments. Butterworth-Heinemann. p. 359. ISBN 0-7506-5749-9. 
  6. ^ Electrochemistry of Metal Chalcogenides, Mirtat Bouroushian, Springer, 2010
  7. ^ a b c Holleman, A. F.; Wiberg, E. (2001), Inorganic Chemistry, San Diego: Academic Press, p. 765-766, ISBN 0-12-352651-5 
  8. ^ A.I. Vogel, (1951), Quantitative Inorganic analysis, (2d edition), Longmans Green and Co
  9. ^ Hazardous Laboratory Chemicals Disposal Guide, Third Edition,CRC Press, 2003, Margaret-Ann Armour, ISBN 9781566705677
  10. ^ Anderson, Corby G. (2012). "The metallurgy of antimony". Chemie der Erde - Geochemistry 72: 3–8. doi:10.1016/j.chemer.2012.04.001. ISSN 0009-2819. 
  11. ^ Inorganic Reactions and Methods, The Formation of Bonds to Group VIB (O, S, Se, Te, Po) Elements (Part 1) (Volume 5) Ed. A.P, Hagen,1991, Wiley-VCH, ISBN 0-471-18658-9
  12. ^ Wells A.F. (1984) Structural Inorganic Chemistry 5th edition Oxford Science Publications ISBN 0-19-855370-6
  13. ^ Kuze S., Du Boulay D., Ishizawa N., Saiki A, Pring A.; (2004), X ray diffraction evidence for a monoclinic form of stibnite, Sb2S3, below 290K; American Mineralogist, 9(89), 1022-1025.
  14. ^ "Low-temperature crystal structures of stibnite implying orbital overlap of Sb 5s 2 inert pair electrons". Physics and Chemistry of Minerals 29: 254–260. doi:10.1007/s00269-001-0227-1.