Sulphur

SULPHUR is abundant, multivalent, and nonmetallic. Under normal conditions, Sulphur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with a chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow, crystalline solid at room temperature.

Sulphur has relatively few uses as an element. One of the most important of those uses is in vulcanization. Vulcanization is the process of adding sulphur to rubber to make it stiff and hard. It keeps the rubber from melting as it gets warmer.

Some powdered sulphur is also used as an insecticide. It can be spread on plants to kill or drive away insects that feed on the plants.

Elemental sulphur is used in black gunpowder, matches, and fireworks; as a fungicide, and fumigant; in the manufacture of phosphate fertilizers; and in the treatment of certain skin diseases. The principal use of sulphur, however, is in the preparation of its compounds. The most important sulphur compound is sulfuric acid. Other important compounds include sulfur dioxide, used as a bleaching agent, disinfectant, and refrigerant; sodium bisulfite, used in paper manufacture; carbon disulfide, an important organic solvent; hydrogen sulfide, sulfur trioxide, and thionyl chloride, used as reagents in chemistry; Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate), used as a laxative, bath additive, exfoliant, and magnesium supplement in plant nutrition; the numerous other sulfate compounds; and sulfa drugs.

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