Sulfur (S), also spelled as sulphur (in British English) is a chemical element of the periodic table, located in the group 16 and the period 3, and is having the atomic number 16. It is a brittle, pale yellow reactive nonmetal, whose name comes from the Sanskrit word “sulvere” or Latin word “sulfurium”. It is a member of the chalcogen group and is the 16th most abundant element on earth.
Sulfur on periodic table
|– p block|
Sulfur is a p-block element, situated in the sixteenth column, also known as the oxygen group of the periodic table, between phosphorus (P) and chlorine (Cl). It has the atomic number 16 and is denoted by the symbol S.
Sulfur element information
|Sulfur is found in the third row of the periodic table below the oxygen element.|
|Origin of name||Sanskrit word “sulvere” or Latin word “sulfurium”|
|Atomic number (Z)||16|
|Atomic mass||32.065 u|
|Group||16 (oxygen group)|
|Covalent radius||105±3 pm|
|Van der Waals radius||180 pm|
|Melting point||115.21 ℃, 239.38 ℉, 388.36 K|
|Boiling point||444.6 ℃, 832.3 ℉, 717.8 K|
|Electron configuration||[Ne] 3s2 3p4|
|Learn how to write: Sulfur electron configuration|
|Electrons per shell||2, 8, 6|
|Learn how to draw: Sulfur Bohr model|
|Phase at r.t||Solid|
|Density near r.t||Alpha: 2.07 g/cm3
Beta: 1.96 g/cm3
Gamma: 1.92 g/cm3
|Main isotopes||Sulfur-32, Sulfur-33, Sulfur-34, Sulfur-36|
|Oxidation state||-2, +2, +4, +6|
|Electronegativity (Pauling scale)||2.58|
|Learn how to find: Sulfur protons neutrons electrons|
|Learn how to find: Sulfur valence electrons|
|Discovered||Before 2000 BCE|
History of sulfur
Sulfur has a long and fascinating history, dating back to ancient times. The earliest known use of sulfur was by the ancient Sumerians, who used it as a disinfectant and fumigant. The ancient Egyptians also used sulfur for medicinal purposes, and it was mentioned in the Ebers Papyrus, one of the oldest medical texts in the world.
In ancient Greece, sulfur was known as “theion” and was associated with the divine. It was used in religious ceremonies, and its fumes were believed to purify the air and ward off evil spirits. The Greek philosopher Theophrastus wrote about the use of sulfur in medicine, and the famous physician Galen used it to treat skin diseases and infections.
During the Middle Ages, sulfur was widely used in Europe for a variety of purposes, including medicine, agriculture, and the manufacture of gunpowder. It was also used as a bleaching agent for cloth and as a preservative for wine and beer.
In the 18th century, the French chemist Antoine Lavoisier studied the properties of sulfur and showed that it combined with oxygen to form sulfur dioxide. He also demonstrated that sulfuric acid, one of the most important industrial chemicals, was composed of sulfur, oxygen, and hydrogen.
Today, sulfur is an essential element used in a wide range of industries, including agriculture, petroleum refining, and chemical manufacturing. It is used to produce sulfuric acid, which is one of the most important industrial chemicals in the world. Sulfur is also used in the production of fertilizers, rubber, detergents, and other products.
Occurrence and production
Sulfur is an abundant non-metallic element that is present in many minerals, such as sulfides, sulfates, and elemental sulfur. Sulfur is found in its elemental form in underground deposits and is also present in volcanic deposits. It is a common element in the Earth’s crust and is the tenth most abundant element in the universe. Sulfur is also found in the atmosphere, where it is present as sulfur dioxide (SO2) and other sulfur-containing compounds.
The production of sulfur involves the extraction of elemental sulfur from natural deposits and the refining of sulfur-containing crude oil and natural gas. The primary method of sulfur extraction is the Frasch process, which involves the injection of hot water into underground sulfur deposits to melt the sulfur, which is then pumped to the surface. Another method of sulfur extraction is the Claus process, which is used to recover sulfur from hydrogen sulfide gas produced during the refining of crude oil and natural gas. The sulfur obtained from these processes is typically purified and used in a variety of industrial applications.
Properties of sulfur
Sulfur is a nonmetal that exists in various allotropic forms.
The most common form of sulfur is a yellow crystalline solid at room temperature and pressure.
Sulfur is insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents such as benzene, carbon disulfide, and toluene.
It has a melting point of 115.21 ℃ and a boiling point of 444.6 ℃.
Sulfur reacts with many metals to form sulfides.
It also reacts with halogens, oxygen, and nitrogen to form various compounds.
Sulfur is oxidized in air to form sulfur dioxide and sulfur trioxide, which can react with water to form sulfuric acid.
Sulfuric acid is one of the most important industrial chemicals, used in the production of fertilizers, detergents, and many other products.
Sulfur is also used in the vulcanization of rubber and the production of gunpowder.
Sulfur compounds are responsible for the characteristic odor of rotten eggs.
Uses of sulfur
Sulfur is a key ingredient in the production of fertilizers. It is used to produce sulfuric acid, which is then used to create superphosphate fertilizers.
Sulfur is used in the production of rubber to vulcanize it. Vulcanization makes rubber stronger, more durable, and resistant to temperature changes.
Sulfur compounds are used in the production of many pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Sulfur is present in crude oil and natural gas. It needs to be removed because it can cause corrosion and is a pollutant. Sulfur is also used to produce sulfuric acid, which is a key ingredient in the refining of oil.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is used as a preservative in many food products, such as dried fruits, canned goods, and wine. It helps to prevent the growth of bacteria and other harmful microorganisms.
Personal care products
Sulfur is used in personal care products such as acne treatments, shampoos, and soaps. It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can help to improve skin conditions like acne and eczema.
Sulfur is a key ingredient in gunpowder, along with charcoal and potassium nitrate. It is used as a fuel and oxidizing agent in the explosive mixture.
Sulfur compounds are used in the paper industry to bleach pulp and remove lignin. This process helps to create brighter, whiter paper products.
Sulfur compounds are used as an ingredient in many pesticides, including fungicides and insecticides. They can help to control the growth of unwanted microorganisms and pests.
Sulfur is used in the production of rayon fibers. It is used to dissolve the cellulose in wood pulp, which is then spun into fibers to create rayon textiles.
Interesting facts about sulfur
Sulfur is the tenth most abundant element in the universe and is found in many minerals, including sulfates and sulfides.
Sulfur has a distinct odor, often described as similar to that of rotten eggs, due to the compound hydrogen sulfide.
Sulfur has been used for thousands of years in various forms, including as a fumigant to disinfect homes and as a key ingredient in gunpowder.
Sulfur is an essential element for all living organisms, and is found in various amino acids and proteins in the body.
Sulfur has a lower melting point than many other metals, and is often used in the vulcanization process of rubber to improve its strength and elasticity.
Sulfur has many important industrial applications, including in the production of fertilizers, paper, and petroleum products.
Sulfur is used in the production of sulfuric acid, which is one of the most widely used chemicals in the world.
Sulfur can be found in various forms, including flowers of sulfur, sulfur dioxide, and elemental sulfur.
Sulfur has been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments, including skin conditions and respiratory problems.
Sulfur has a long history of use in religious and spiritual practices, and is associated with purification and healing in many cultures.