Uses of Sulfur in Ancient Times – Element – Properties

If you mention the name sulfur, the first thing you might think about is its very distinctive smell. Sulfur is a natural mineral rich in amino and is often found in hot springs and volcanoes. If you visit the hot springs, you often hear sulfur hot springs believed to be beneficial for skin health, right?

Sulfur (S), also spelled sulfur, a non-metallic chemical element belonging to the oxygen group (Group 16 [VIa] from the periodic table), sulfur is one of the most reactive elements of the other elements. Pure sulfur is tasteless, odorless, brittle solid and pale yellow, sulfur is a poor conductor of electricity, and insoluble in water. Reacts with all metals except gold and platinum, forming sulfides; sulfur also forms compounds with some nonmetallic elements. Millions of tons of sulfur are produced annually, mostly for the manufacture of sulfuric acid, which is widely used in industry.

In cosmic abundance, sulfur is ranked ninth among the other elements. Sulfur occurs in pure form as well as in bonding with other elements in rocks and minerals which are widely distributed, although they are classified as the minor constituents of the earth’s crust, where the proportions are estimated to be between 0.03 and 0.06 percent. On the basis of the findings that certain meteorites contain about 12 percent sulfur, it has indicated that the deeper layers of the Earth contain a much larger proportion of sulfur.

Seawater contains about 0.09 percent of sulfur in sulphate form. In very pure sulfur underground deposits present in domelike geological structures, sulfur is believed to have been formed by the action of bacteria in anhydrine minerals, where sulfur is combined with oxygen and calcium. Sulfur deposits in volcanic areas may originate from hydrogen sulfide gas produced beneath the earth’s surface and transform into sulfur by reaction with oxygen in the air.

History of Sulfur

The history of sulfur is part of ancient times. The name sulfur itself probably comes from the Latin Oscans, an ancient people who inhabit the region including Vesuvius, where sulfur deposits are widespread. Prehistoric humans use sulfur as a pigment for cave painting; one of the first recorded examples of the art of medicine is in the use of sulfur as a tonic.

Sulfur burning had a role in Egypt’s religious ceremonies 4,000 years ago. The “fire and sulfur” references in the Bible relate to sulfur, indicating that “hellfire” is driven by sulfur into the world.

Uses of sulfur in ancient times

Sulfur since ancient times in ancient Greece, China and Egypt.

  1. Sulfuric fumes are used as fumigants

Greek mythology also includes sulfur chemistry: Homer Odysseus uses sulfur dioxide to fumigate space to kill his wife’s suitors.

In the other hand, Pliny the Elder 50 ce reported some of the benefits of sulfur but ironically he was killed, most probably by sulfur fumes, at the time of the great eruption of Vesuvius (79 ce).

  1. As Balm and antiparasitics

The uses of sulfur in ancient times: Sulfur contains a mixture of drugs used as balm and antiparasitics.

  1. Used for cotton bleach

At first the benefits of sulfur originated from Egypt, sulfur dioxide was used for cotton bleach in 1600 BC.

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  1. Used in explosives and fireworks

The uses of sulfur in ancient times in explosives and fireworks since about 500 BC in China, and the production of fire used in warfare (Greek fire) were prepared with sulfur in the Middle Ages.

  1. Sulfuric acid as a hair dye

As we know, sulfuric acid is corrosive and harmful if in direct contact with skin. In fact, the French in the Renaissance actually used sulfuric acid to color their hair. This liquid is used Oyle of Vitrioli, this fluid can brighten the color of hair that was originally dark.

In the year 1500-1600 AD in Europe, blond hair at this time is also very liked, they also began to recognize hair dye made from a mixture of black sulfur, alum, and honey. The way of life, applied in the hair and then the dye substances to work they must bask in the sun.

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Sulfur in Ancient Times

Sulfur is referred to in the Bible as sulfur in English, under this name still used in non-scientific terms. Some sulfur is considered important enough to accept its own symbol of alchemy. It is necessary to make the best quality of black gunpowder, and the bright yellow powder is hypothesized by alchemists that contain some of the properties of gold, which they seek to synthesize from it. In 1777, Antoine Lavoisier helped convince the scientific community that sulfur was the basic element, not a compound.

Sulfur is considered by chemists as a combustible element. Lavoisier recognized it as an element in 1777, although it was thought by some to be a hydrogen and oxygen compound; its elemental properties are described by the French chemists Joseph Gay-Lussac and Louis Thenard.

The question of important metal ores is a sulfur compound, either sulphide or sulfate. Some important examples are galena (lead sulphide, PbS), Blende (zinc sulphide, ZnS), pyrite (iron disulfide, FeS2), chalcopyrite (copper iron sulphide, CuFeS2), gypsum (calcium sulfate dihydrate, CaSO4 2H2O ∙) and barite barium sulfate, BaSO4). The sulfide ore is present in their metal content, although the process for making sulfuric acid is used sulfur dioxide obtained by burning pyrite developed in the 18th century. Coal, petroleum, and natural gas contain sulfur compounds.

Just above the melting point, sulfur is transparent, liquid, and yellow. After further warming, the viscosity of the liquid decreases gradually at a minimum of about 157 ° C, but then increases rapidly, reaching its maximum value at about 187 ° C; between this temperature and a boiling point of 444.6 ° C, the viscosity is reduced. The color also changes from yellow to dark red and eventually becomes black at temperatures around 250 ° C. Variations in both color and viscosity are thought to result from changes in molecular structure.

The decrease in viscosity with increasing temperature is characteristic of the liquid, but the increase in sulfur viscosity above 157 ° C may be due to the breaking of the eight sulfur atomic ring forming a reactive S8 unit that joins together in a long chain containing thousands of atoms. The liquid then shows the high viscosity characteristics of the structure.

At sufficiently high temperatures, all cyclic molecules are damaged and the length of the chain reaches its maximum length. Beyond that temperature, the chains break down into small fragments. After evaporation, the cyclic molecules (S8 and S6) are reshaped; about 900 ° C, the form S2 is the dominant form; Finally, monoatomic sulfur forms at temperatures above 1,800 ° C.