Antimony burns in chlorine

A bottle fills with thick white smoke with a beautiful rain of fire

Scientific name: Interaction of antimony and chlorine leads to the formation of smoke consisting of antimony chlorides


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Wear eye protection goggles. Use gloves. Work with poisonous gases only outdoors or in a hood.

Always follow general safety recommendations. Please note that conducting chemistry experiments you must comply with the relevant legal procedures in your country.

Reaction formula

2 Sb + 3 Cl2 → 2 SbCl3

2 Sb + 5 Cl2 → 2 SbCl5


  1. Antimony
  2. Chlorine

Step-by-step instruction

WARNING! This experiment is dangerous! You should NOT perform this at home. ONLY carry out this experiment, if you are a trained chemist, and you understand local safety and legal requirements, which are required to perform such experiments

  1. Obtain chlorine gas. There are many different ways, but you can take it from the cylinder.
  2. Collect 0.5L of chlorine gas into a chemical cylinder.
  3. Pour 2 g of antimony powder into a test tube and heat it over a gas burner or alcohol lamp.
  4. Slowly add the heated antimony powder into the cylinder with chlorine.
  5. Observe the rain of fire and how the cylinder fills with white smoke.

Scientific background

Chlorine gas is a strong oxidant. This property of chlorine is due to its position in the periodic table, high electronegativity, the lack of a single electron to fill the outer electron level and low energy of chlorine-chlorine bonds. Antimony reacts with strong oxidizing agents, like metals. Antimony is oxidized to antimony chlorides, which forms the smoke. Sparks are formed due to the release of large amounts of heat. The reaction takes place at the interface very slowly, so heating is necessary.


Published on 15 May 2015

  • Fire
  • Heating with fire
  • Explosion
  • Poisoned gas
  • Organic
  • Electricity
  • Solution
  • Oxidation reduction
  • Color change
  • Precipitate
  • Gassing
  • Catalyst