Arsenic Metal


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A semi-metal called Arsenic can be found in some soils in low levels, and some zinc, lead and copper ores in higher levels. Realgar and orpiment are amongst a few natural arsenic sulphides that are known for decades. Arsenopyrite is regarded as the most common arsenic mineral. It is not possible to find this metalloid element anywhere in its pure form, though it is ranked 53rd in the list of the most abundant element in the Earth's crust. This metalloid element is rarely obtained from an arsenic ore mineral, but as a by-product in metal ores treatment.

China and Chile are the largest and second largest arsenic trioxide producing countries, followed by Belgium, Russia, Kazakhstan and Mexico. The largest consumer of arsenic is the USA.


It can be found in two forms- ∝-arsenic and β-arsenic which are metal and non-metal respectively. This metal cannot be converted into liquid form, rather it transforms into gas from a solid at the temperature of 616°C.


Arsenic is very less used as a metallic element, but alloy with metals, like copper and lead for further uses. Some of the applications of arsenic are mentioned here:

  • It is used as a wood preservative.
  • It is used in glass-making.
  • It is used as a compound along with indium and gallium, in semiconductors to be further used in solar cells, mobile phones, other electrical equipment, pesticides, insecticides and herbicides.
  • It is also used as an alloying element in certain alloys with lead and copper base.
  • This alloying element is used in the production of lead shot.


This metalloid element is also called the King of Poisons because of its high toxicity. The soil and water systems are affected by the arsenic contamination. According to environmental laws, arsenic is to be necessarily removed from ores. If found in e-waste, like switches and circuit boards, arsenic is to be recycled to reduce toxicity in the environment.