Antimony(III) chloride

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Antimony(III) chloride
IUPAC name
Antimony trichloride
Preferred IUPAC name
Antimony trichloride
Systematic IUPAC name
Other names
Antimony(III) chloride
Antimonous chloride
Butter of antimony
Stibous chloride
Molar mass 228.11 g/mol
Appearance White deliquescent crystalline solid
Odor Sharp, pungent (moist air)
Density 3.14 g/cm3 (25 °C)
2.51 g/cm3 (150 °C)
Melting point 73.4 °C (164.1 °F; 346.5 K)
Boiling point 223.5 °C (434.3 °F; 496.6 K)
601.1 g/100 ml (0 °C)
985.1 g/100 ml (25 °C)
1,357 g/100 ml (40 °C)
Solubility Soluble in 1,4-dioxane, CS2, CCl4, chloroform, cyclohexane, CH2Cl2, diethyl ether, ethanol, selenium(IV) oxychloride, THF
Insoluble in isopropylamine, pyridine, quinoline
Solubility in acetic acid 143.9 g/100 g (0 °C)
205.8 g/100 g (10 °C)
440.5 g/100 g (25 °C)
693.7 g/100 g (45 °C)
Solubility in acetone 537.6 g/100 g (18 °C)
Solubility in benzoyl chloride 139.2 g/100 g (15 °C)
169.5 g/100 g (25 °C)
2.76 kg/100 g (70 °C)
Solubility in hydrochloric acid 20 °C
8.954 g/ g (4.63% w/w)
8.576 g/ g (14.4% w/w)
7.898 g/ g (36.7% w/w)
Solubility in p-Cymene 69.5 g/100 g (-3.5 °C)
85.5 g/100 g (10 °C)
150 g/100 g (30 °C)
2.17 kg/100 g (70 °C)
Vapor pressure 13.33 Pa (18.1 °C)
0.15 kPa (50 °C)
2.6 kPa (100 °C)
110.5 J·mol-1·K-1
-381.2 kJ/mol
Safety data sheet Sigma-Aldrich
Flash point Non-flammable
Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):
525 mg/kg (oral, rat)
Related compounds
Related compounds
Antimony(V) chloride
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Infobox references

Antimony(III) chloride or antimony trichloride is a chemical compound with the formula SbCl3.



Antimony(III) chloride rapidly hydrolyzes in moist air to give antimony oxychloride and hydrochloric acid.

SbCl3 + H2O → SbOCl + 2 HCl

Visible hydrolysis is observed after 10 seconds of air exposure.


Antimony trichloride is a crystalline deliquescent solid, which readily hydrolyzes in moist air. It is soluble in ethers.


Antimony(III) chloride is sold by chemical suppliers, but it's difficult to get hold of due to its hazards.


Antimony(III) chloride can be prepared by reacting elemental antimony with dry chlorine gas. Reaction must be performed in dry environment/atmosphere. The product is purified via sublimation under vacuum, using a cold finger.

2 Sb + 3 Cl2 → 2 SbCl3

Another route involves reacting antimony(III) oxide with conc. hydrochloric acid, with a bit of hydrogen peroxide to speed up the reaction. The aq. acid is removed via distillation, leaving in the flask impure SbCl3, which can be purified by distilling it using a short-path distillation apparatus.[1]

For higher purity, it can be dried in a stream of HCl gas.

Antimony trichloride is best purified from old or partially hydrolyzed reagent by subliming it under vacuum and condense it on a cold finger. The temperature at which vacuum sublimation begins is between 185-190 °C. Use a cold trap to prevent corrosive HCl and SbCl3 fumes from getting sucked up in the pump and destroying it.


  • Carr-Price test (detection of vitamin A and related carotenoids)
  • Make elemental antimony
  • Make antimony organometallic compounds



Antimony trichloride readily hydrolyzes in the presence of moisture to release hydrochloric acid which is very corrosive. Contact with most protection gloves will cause them to darken.

Antimony compounds display moderate toxicity.


Antimony(III) chloride should be stored in dry air-tight containers, best in an inert atmosphere. Schlenk flasks are a common storage container. Ampouling is used for long term storage.


Antimony(III) chloride should be neutralized with a base then taken to a waste disposal center.


  • Mabus - personal experience with the stuff; it's pretty nasty to work with and without a glovebox or Schlenk line it's almost impossible to do any kind of proper reactions.

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