Sulfur

sulfur-symbol

  • Symbol: S
  • Atomic Number: 16
  • Atomic Weight: 32
  • Melting Point: 115 °C (239 °F)
  • Boiling Point:6 °C (832 °F)
  • Discovered by: Known since ancient times.

Sulfur (also spelled as Sulphur) is a chemical element in the periodic table having the atomic number of 16. It is mostly known for causing very bad smells, but in reality, the pure sulfur is odorless nonmetal element. The smells that irritate us are actually the compounds of sulfur, e.g. Hydrogen Sulfide smells like rotten eggs.
sulfur-element

Characteristics and Properties

  • Sulfur is yellow colored nonmetal solid.
  • It has 30 allotropes (Allotropes are made of the same element, but their atoms are organized differently).
  • Sulfur can’t be dissolved in the water. However, it can be dissolved in organic liquids.

Uses

Sulfur is a widely used element across the world. Some of its uses are:

  • Sulfur is used to make sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid is a strong acid which is used in your car batteries. But, it has many other industrial applications too.
  • It is used for water processing, oil refining, and making fertilizers.
  • It is used for making gunpowder that is used in bullets, and hobby rockets.

Where is it found?

Sulfur is the 10th most abundant element in the universe, and 17th most abundant in Earth’s crust. Sulfur is found in many places around the world. The places where the sulfur is likely found are volcanic sites, natural geysers, hydro-thermal vents, and hot water springs. Sulfur is found in both pure forms and in minerals. Some minerals of sulfur are pyrite, barite, and gypsum.
pyrite-barite-gypsum

The largest sulfur producing country is China. Other countries that also produce sulfur are US, Canada, and Russia.

Discovery

Sulfur is available in its pure form in nature, so ancient people had known about the sulfur. Chinese had known the reactivity and uses of sulfur in medicines and black gunpowder.  They used black gunpowder in fireworks. Sulfur was considered as a compound rather than an element. It was proved by Antoine Lavoisier in 1777 that sulfur is an element.

Fun Facts

  • The 8th most abundant element in our bodies is sulfur.
  • Sulfur dioxide is a toxic gas released mostly by power plants and factories. When this gas mixes with moisture in the atmosphere it causes acid rain.
  • When the sulfur melts, it is converted into a red color
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