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)
Related compounds
Related compounds
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.

Natural occurrence[edit]

Neither SbOCl nor the latter compound occur naturally. However, onoratoite is a known Sb-O-Cl mineral, its composition being Sb8Cl2O11.[2][3][4][5][6]

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.
  2. ^ Mayerová, Zuzana; Johnsson, Mats; Lidin, Sven (2006). "The structure of onoratoite, (, Br) revisited". Solid State Sciences. 8 (7): 849–854. doi:10.1016/j.solidstatesciences.2006.04.010. ISSN 1293-2558.
  3. ^ Menchetti, S.; Sabelli, C.; Trosti-Ferroni, R. (1984). "The structures of onoratoite, Sb8O11Cl2 and Sb8O11Cl2.6H2O". Acta Crystallographica Section C. 40 (9): 1506–1510. doi:10.1107/S0108270184008532. ISSN 0108-2701.
  4. ^ Belluomini, G.; Fornaseri, M.; Nicoletti, M. (2018). "Onoratoite, a new antimony oxychloride, from Cetine di Cotorniano, Rosia (Siena, Italy)". Mineralogical Magazine and Journal of the Mineralogical Society. 36 (284): 1037–1044. doi:10.1180/minmag.1968.036.284.01. ISSN 0369-0148.
  5. ^ Roper, Adam J.; Leverett, Peter; Murphy, Timothy D.; Williams, Peter A. (2018). "The stability of onoratoite, Sb8O11Cl2, in the supergene environment". Mineralogical Magazine. 78 (7): 1671–1675. doi:10.1180/minmag.2014.078.7.10. ISSN 0026-461X.
  6. ^ Lidin, Sven; Johnsson, Mats; Hugonin, Zuzana (2009). "Modulations in the onoratoite system". Solid State Sciences. 11 (7): 1198–1205. doi:10.1016/j.solidstatesciences.2009.03.009. ISSN 1293-2558.

Further reading[edit]