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Identifying metals

Bismuth

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Antimony (Sb)

Smudges around the eye; it is in kohl black eyeliner.

Antimony is a semi metal. It can be easily confused with Bismuth. Antimony was found in small amounts in many Cornish mines usually combined with sulphur as the mineral stibnite. Only small quantities of antimony were produced, mostly from the mines in the north of the county. It is recorded that in 1884 Bodannon mine at St Endillion produced four tonnes of antimony whilst in 1861 Pengenna mine at St Kew produced 15 tonnes.

Antimony is found in about 100 different minerals, and traces can sometimes be found in silver, copper and lead ores when smelted.

Antimony can be powdered to make kohl, which has been used in  black eye make-up since the Ancient Egyptians. Today antimony is mainly used to fireproof plastics, rubbers and other materials. It is also used to toughen up the lead in batteries. Antimony can be used alloyed with lead and tin to form ‘Babbitt’ and ‘white metal’ anti-friction alloys for bearings and type metal for printing.

The sulphide residues recovered at Geevor by the froth flotation process contained small amounts of antimony.    

Data Panel: Antimony Native Element

Sb
colour
Whitish grey but can be darker when tarnished
hardness
3-3.5
Crystal system
Trigonal
Crystal habit

Crystals look cubic but it is typically botryodial

Lustre
Metallic but dull when tarnished
Streak
Whitish grey
Fracture
Uneven
Other characteristics
Melts at a relatively low temperature

 


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Comment left by toasty redhead on 2011-05-29 10:54:31

I never thought of it that way, well put!

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