The periodic table/Sulfur
Sulfur has been known since ancient times. It is mentioned 15 times in the Bible, and was best known for destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. It was also known to the ancient Greeks, and burnt as a fumigant. Louis-Josef Gay-Lussac and Louis-Jacques Thénard proved it to be an element in 1809. The name is thought to be derived from either the Sanskrit 'sulvere', or the Latin 'sulfurium'.
Atomic Number: 16
Electron Configuration: [Ne] 3s2 3p4
CAS Number: 7704-34-9
Appearance: Generally appears as yellow crystals or a yellow powder.
Discovery in: ancient times
Key Isotopes: 32S
Allotropes: α-S, β-S, S2, S3, cyclo-S8
Sulfur is mostly used in the production of sulfuric acid, which is perhaps the most important chemical manufactured by western civilizations. The most important of sulfuric acid’s many uses is in the extraction of phosphate for fertilizer. Sulfur is used in the vulcanization of black rubber, as a fungicide and in black gunpowder. Sulfites are used to bleach paper and as preservatives for many foodstuffs. Many surfactants and detergents are sulfate derivatives. Calcium sulfate, gypsum, is mined on the scale of 100 million tons each year for use in cement and plaster.
Sulfur is essential to all living things. It is taken up as sulfate from the soil (or sea water) by plants and algae and used to make two of the essential amino acids needed for protein formation. It is also needed in some co-enzymes. Sulfur is non-toxic as the element and in the form of the sulfate, but carbon disulfide, hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide are all toxic, especially hydrogen sulfide which can cause death by respiratory paralysis. Sulfur dioxide is produced when coal and unpurified oil are burned and is largely responsible for so called ‘acid rain’ which can cause lakes to die partly by enabling toxic aluminium salts to become soluble. The average human contains 140 grams and takes in about 1 gram a day.
Atomic radius: 1.800 Å
Covalent radius: 1.04 Å
Electron affinity: 200.4 kJ mol-1
First: 999.588 kJ mol-1
Second: 2251.761 kJ mol-1
Third: 3356.722 kJ mol-1
Fourth: 4556.227 kJ mol-1
Fifth: 7004.299 kJ mol-1
Sixth: 8495.816 kJ mol-1
Seventh: 27107.340 kJ mol-1
Eighth: 31719.528 kJ mol-1
Scarcity factor: 3.5 (low risk)
Crustal abundance: 404 ppm
Reserve base distribution: n/a
Production concentration: 17.4%
Top 3 countries for mining: n/a
Top 3 countries for production:
Oxidation States and Isotopes
Common oxidation states: 6, 4, 2, -2
|Isotope||Atomic mass||Abundance (%)||Half life||Mode of decay|
Pressure and Temperature Data
Molar heat capacity: 22.7 J mol-1 K-1