Sulfur

Don’t lose your senses under the smell of sulfur!

  • Sulfur is an element that is part of the periodic table, scientifically notated as ‘S’, while 16 is its atomic number.
  • The cosmos’ tenth most common element is sulfur, which can be found naturally in stars of massive size, in meteorites, and in volcanic gases.
  • Sulfur, also known and spelled as ‘sulphur’, is coloured yellow in its purist form; though it changes to a red coloured liquid upon reaching a heat of approximately 200° Celsius (392° Fahrenheit).
  • Originally, sulfur was mined in a somewhat pure form or extracted from pyrite, however in modern times the element is extracted from fossil fuels such as petroleum.
  • The identification and use of sulfur has been present throughout many ancient civilisations, including Egypt, India, Greece and China, and the element was often used for primitive medical purposes.
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Volcanic Sulfur
Image courtesy of James St. John/Flickr
  • Fertilisers, pesticides, cellophane, paper bleach, rayon, detergents, as well as preservatives purposed for dried fruit, all often make use of sulfur.
  • Sulfur is relatively safe for humans in its elemental form, however when combined with other elements, it can cause harm through breathing it in a gas form, or on contact with skin.
  • Compounds with strong smells, typically those unpleasant, generally consist of sulfur; including the odour of rotten eggs, the spray of skunks, and garlic.
  • Sulfur melts at 388.36 Kelvin (115.21° Celsius or 239.38° Fahrenheit); boils at 717.8 Kelvin (444.6° Celsius or ​832.3° Fahrenheit); and produces a flame of a blue colour.
  • Sulfur has been used as an ingredient in multiple medicines, particularly those to cure skin diseases, due to the element’s ability to kill bacteria.
Bibliography:
The Element Sulfur, n.d, Jefferson Lab, http://education.jlab.org/itselemental/ele016.html
Sulfur, 2015, Los Alamos, http://periodic.lanl.gov/16.shtml
Sulfur, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfur

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