What is sulfur: Definition and 36 Discussions

Sulfur (or sulphur in British English) is a chemical element with the symbol S and atomic number 16. It is abundant, multivalent and nonmetallic. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with a chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow, crystalline solid at room temperature.
Sulfur is the tenth most abundant element by mass in the universe and the fifth most on Earth. Though sometimes found in pure, native form, sulfur on Earth usually occurs as sulfide and sulfate minerals. Being abundant in native form, sulfur was known in ancient times, being mentioned for its uses in ancient India, ancient Greece, China, and ancient Egypt. Historically and in literature sulfur is also called brimstone, which means "burning stone". Today, almost all elemental sulfur is produced as a byproduct of removing sulfur-containing contaminants from natural gas and petroleum. The greatest commercial use of the element is the production of sulfuric acid for sulfate and phosphate fertilizers, and other chemical processes. Sulfur is used in matches, insecticides, and fungicides. Many sulfur compounds are odoriferous, and the smells of odorized natural gas, skunk scent, grapefruit, and garlic are due to organosulfur compounds. Hydrogen sulfide gives the characteristic odor to rotting eggs and other biological processes.
Sulfur is an essential element for all life, but almost always in the form of organosulfur compounds or metal sulfides. Amino acids (two proteinogenic: cysteine and methionine, and many other non-coded: cystine, taurine, etc.) and two vitamins (biotin and thiamine) are organosulfur compounds crucial for life. Many cofactors also contain sulfur, including glutathione, and iron–sulfur proteins. Disulfides, S–S bonds, confer mechanical strength and insolubility of the (among others) protein keratin, found in outer skin, hair, and feathers. Sulfur is one of the core chemical elements needed for biochemical functioning and is an elemental macronutrient for all living organisms.

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  1. D

    Is there a safe way to eliminate sulfur smell in the floor cracks?

    I have a problem from 3 weeks… I broke a thermometer that contained mercury. The mercury balls hid in the cracks in the parquet in the floor. I found information in some chemical webiste, that the only thing what I can do, is to cover this mercury with ground sulfur to neutralize the mercury...
  2. solar energy

    I Optical proprieties of sulfur dioxide in the gaseous state

    Hi, I am a first-year university student in engineering and for this year I have to do a presentation( with related experience ) about the physical implication of geoengineering methods. The theoretical aspect seems quite understandable, my principal problem is to find a clear experience with...
  3. WMDhamnekar

    MHB Density of sulfur dioxide(SO_2)

    Is the final answer given is correct? From where 96 (highlighted) came? Molar mass of $SO_2$ is $64.0588 g \times mol^{-1}$
  4. O

    Worldbuilding: Is it possible to have a world without sulfur and charcoal?

    Hi All, First post here. I'll get straight to the point. Thinking about ideas for a novel. Would it be theoretically possible to have a world without sulfur and charcoal? The idea would be a planet targeted for colonization that doesn't have elements needed for gunpowder. What are the...
  5. jim mcnamara

    Information on Sulfur hexafluoride?

    Anybody know more about this? It is in DISCUSSION forums since I do not see any decent references on the subject. Maybe I'm having a bad day... ##SF_{6}## - Prevents fires from electrical shorts, used in high kVa distribution lines - at connection points, substations, and "ties" Apparently...
  6. R

    How Natural Rubber (NR) reacts with sulfur?

    Hello My name is ron and i am a mechanical engineering in pump factory. In some project i work on, i have fluent that contains sulfur (less then 10 %). my question is how natural rubber react with sulfur? and if its currect to use natural rubber? thanks
  7. A

    Empirical Formula of Sulfur & Oxygen Compound

    A sample of sulfur having a mass of 1.28 g combines with oxygen to form a compound with a mass of 3.2g. What is the empirical formula. So what i did is found the mass of oxygen which is 1.92g . Then converted the 1.28g S to 0.04 mol. Then converted the 1.92g O2 (as it says oxygen, or should it...
  8. S

    What Happens When Sulfur Reacts with Copper and Tin at High Temperatures?

    Dear all I have 250g of Copper 250g of Tin and 250g of Sulfur. Everything is in powdered form. Heated up in closed container wit surrounding nitrogen flow to avoid contact with Oxygen. Heating ramp is 3 hours to 1000K. What reaction will be the leading reaction? How to calculate how fast will...
  9. T

    Properties of carbon and sulfur questions

    what is the properties of chimcal reaction for carbon and sulfur in gunpowder...and what different reaction happens if the gunpowder have just carbon without sulfur
  10. T

    How to calculate of heat combuation for sulfur

    how to calculate of heat combuation for sulfur
  11. Q

    Sulfur Hybridization and Bonding

    Homework Statement http://i.minus.com/jsdp6WZ2nqRY9.jpg Homework Equations Sulfur is sp2 hybridized. Sulfur is also nonpolar having an AXE of AX3 and no lone pairs. It is trigonal planar. The Attempt at a Solution I'm not sure if sulfur can be represented by three equivalent...
  12. Q

    Understanding the Hybridization of Sulfur and Carbon in SO2

    Hybridization of carbon Pretty sure my professor is wrong once again. SO2 should have two double bonds which gives the sulfur a minimal formal charge and two signs bonds. The two sigma bonds imply sp hybridization, not the blatantly wrong circled answer.
  13. gauss44

    Can sulfur participate in a hydrogen bond?

    I googled it and got both answers, "yes" and "no." What I mean is: O-H-S, F-H-S, N-H-S, etc. Ex.'s of "yes": http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19089987 [PLAIN]http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/artic.../ce/c0ce00760a[/URL] Ex. of "no": http://www.nature.com/nature/journal.../149218a0.html
  14. A

    How Can the Equivalent Weight of Sulfur be 32 in S2Cl2?

    Equivalent weight of sulfur in SCl2 is 16,what is the equivalent weight of S in S2Cl2? [S=32,Cl=35.5] I know that the answer is 32. But how how can the equivalent weight of Sulfur be 32? We know that equivalent weight=atomic weight/valency Now sulfur has variable valency of 2,4,6 .So the...
  15. B

    How to capture carbon and sulfur molecules in anodizing of aluminum.

    I have a need to capture some free sulfur and graphite molecules in the anodizing layer of aluminum, preferably a hard anodizing which uses higher current levels and lower temperature than normal anodizing. I had imagined puting DMSO for the sulfur molecule in the sulfuric anodizing solution and...
  16. G

    What is a flame? why does sulfur burn?

    When we strike a match which is made of sulfur against a hard surface (I don't know what the surface is made of) a flame is produced. That flame can then cause a piece of wood to burn. We can also see the flame. Why? Let me take my best guess since this website likes people to try...
  17. H

    Finding the amount of sulfur dioxide

    Homework Statement A coal-fired steam power plant operates on the ideal Rankine cycle. Feedwater from the condenser at P1= 10 kPa is pumped to the boiler at P2= P3 = 20 MPa, where it is superheated and exits the boiler at T3 = 550 °C. The moisture content in the turbine is not to exceed 12%...
  18. S

    Oxidizing Suspended Sulfur to Sulfate in Solution - Tips

    I would like to oxidize suspended elemental sulfur to sulfate in a solution. Any suggestions?
  19. E

    Electric Sulfur Balls: Otto von Guericke’s Discovery

    I've heard many times of the first systematic study of static electricity: Otto von Guericke would spin a ball made of sulfur and rub it by hand, building up an electric charge. To make a sulfur ball, he would pour molten sulfur into a hollow glass globe, wait for the sulfur to harden, then...
  20. S

    Organic II Q's - EAS, sulfur as protecting group, fischer esterification

    My understanding is that for EAS, Friedel-Crafts Acylations/Alkylations will only work for halobenzenes or better (in terms of electron donating groups). Does this mean that F-C won't work for a halobenzene that also has a nitro group on it, due to the extreme withdrawing effects of the nitro...
  21. S

    Sulfur in Fertiliser: Why the % Mass of Sulfate?

    Hi, I'd just like to know why fertiliser producers refer to "the percentage by mass of sulfur present as sulfate" in their fertilisers? Thanks!
  22. S

    Sulfur in Fertiliser: What Does it Mean?

    Hi, I'd just like to know why fertiliser producers refer to "the percentage by mass of sulfur present as sulfate" in their fertilisers? Thanks!
  23. S

    What Determines the Bonding Structure of Sulfur Trioxide?

    Hi peeps can someone help me with this? The central atom would be sulfur correct? So that means sulfur will invoke hybridization sp2 would be use since there are 3 bonds? However when we invoke hybridization there are 2 2s electron and 2 2p electrons in the orbital(doesn't really know how to say...
  24. Y

    What Causes the Whistling Noise When Heating Iron and Sulfur?

    I quote from a fellow chemistry teachers' letter (Mike Thompson): "Many colleagues will know that when solid sulphur is heated below some lightly packed iron wool in a test tube or boiling tube a standing wave is sometimes set up and a whistling noise is heard (around middle C with a boiling...
  25. S

    Sulfur trioxide hybridization?

    I'm just curious about how the sulfer's molecular orbitals would be described in sulfer trioxide. I can see that the molecule is trigonal planar, but how is it involved in 3 pi bonds? Also I'm sure that a d orbital or two is involved... but can't sp3d, sp3d2 orbitals only do sigma bonds? Thanks.
  26. S

    Looking for bulk sources of chemically pure sulfur

    For the last several months I've been trying to locate sulfur in bulk so I can try out something called sulfur casting (lost-wax casting using liquid sulfur instead of molten metal). All I've been able to find is five pound bags of something called soil or garden sulfur at nurseries and home...
  27. F

    Quantitative test for sulfur dioxide in orange juice

    Is there a quantitative test for the amount of sulfur dioxide in orange juice. Nothing too complicated, I am only in year 11. Can it be done using titration?
  28. F

    Why Is Fire Hotter with Sulfur Fuel?

    Why is fire hotter when fueled by sulfur as compared to say, paper, wood, or charcoal?
  29. B

    Chemistry How many atoms are there in 3.90 moles of sulfur (S)?

    I need help could someone please help me with this problem? How many atoms are there in 3.90 moles of sulfur (S)?
  30. E

    Sulfur Based Lifeforms Question

    I was wondering if there was any research into how the nervous systems work inside of sulfur based life forms. I think I remember seeing somewhere organisms complex enough to resemble shrimp existed, but the only thing I’ve been able to find in my own research was worms.
  31. F

    Sulfur Extraction and Potassium Nitrate

    Well I've found this recipe to extract Potassium Nitrate from nitrate bearing potting soil containing 0.09% nitrate nitrogen and I've also found this one soil (well its more like rocky gravel) for turfs that contains 9.00% nitrogen nitrate. Okay so my question is can i extract the one with 9.00%...
  32. S

    Iron, Sulfur, and Hydrochloric Acid

    I know that hydrochloric acid reacts with a heated mixture of iron and sulfur, but why does it not react with an unheated mixture of iron and sulfur? (During a demonstration, I could see a soggy mixture of the powder and fillings in the acid, and I noticed nothing so I am assuming no reaction...
  33. recon

    Consequences of Air Impurities in Sulfur Burning

    The first step in the manufacture of sulphuric acid involves burning sulphur in air to produce sulphur dioxide. Why must the air used to burn the sulphur be as clean as possible? I'm not sure whether or not we should concerned ourselves with: 1. how the impurity affects the rate of...
  34. M

    Making/Extracting Sulfur: Is It Possible?

    Is there an easy way to make/extract Sulfur (/Sulphur)? For example, making sulfur by taking the sulfur out of sulfuric acid? I don't think this is possible though, is it? or by extracting it from sulfur soil and getting a relatively high purity?
  35. B

    How to extract sulfur from ground water

    Will boiling ground water that contains sulfur produce a yellow sulfur residue. Thanks, --Keith