The Mineral Sulfur
sulfur mineral picture

sulfur picture


Sulphur, spelled as Sulfur, has “S” for its symbol as an element (chemical), with atomic No.16. This non-metal is both abundant and multivalent. Normally, molecules  that have a cyclic octanomic form are produced by the sulfur atoms, and they have a chemical formula of S8. Sulfur as an element is a crystalline bright yellow solid at room temperatures. Sulfur can chemically act either as a reducing or an oxidizing agent, and is known to oxidize not only most metals, but also several non metals that include Carbon, leading to a negative charge in most compounds of Organosulfur. However, it is known to diminish strong oxidants like fluorine and oxygen.

Chemical Formula  

Derivation of Name  
Historically sulfur is a Latin word. During the 12th-century Anglo-French period, it was called sulfre. During the 14th century the Latin pH was reinstated for sulphre and by the 15th century the complete Latin spelling was restored to get sulfur or sulphur.

Sulfur is found in nature as an unadulterated element (native sulfur) and also in the form of minerals like sulfates and sulfides. Basic sulfur crystals are usually singled out by mineral collectors because of their distinctive, brilliantly colored polyhedron shapes. Being plentiful in local form, sulfur had been known since ancient times and its use was recommended in early India, ancient Greece, Egypt and China.     

sulfur mineral

mineral sulfur

Sulphur, also known as brimstone, burns at a moderately low temperature. It does burn effortlessly in the air.  That is why it was originally used for creating a black powder for firearms.  

In nature, basic sulfur occurs near volcanic regions and hot springs in several parts of the world, particularly along the Pacific Ring of Fire. At present volcanic deposits are mined in Chile, Indonesia and Japan. Such deposits have polycrystalline character, with the largest recorded single crystal of size 22×16×11 cm. In the past, Sicily was a big source of sulfur during the Industrial Revolution.

Sulfur is a crucial element for all living beings, and is extensively employed for biochemical processes. In metabolic reactions, sulfur compounds work as fuels (electron donors) and respiratory (oxygen-alternative) materials (electron acceptors). In its organic form, sulfur is available in vitamins; thiamine and biotin. Sulfur forms a significant component of several enzymes and antioxidant molecules like thioredoxin and glutathione.

Lemon yellow sintered microcrystals                  

2.07 g·cm−3

Mohs hardness

Contact Us
Home | Contributers | Policies | Links | Story of Our Name |  FAQs © Copyright 2003-2015, LearnAboutNature.com