Sulfur, the chemical element with the symbol S, is a yellow crystalline solid. Sulfur is an essential element for life and is often referred to as brimstone. This article will tackle the question who discovered sulfur and give four interesting and educational facts about sulfur.
First, let’s look at the question who discovered sulfur. Well, unfortunately, no one really knows who discovered sulfur. Sulfur was known in ancient times and is referred to in Genesis in the Bible (called the Torah in Judaism). English translations of the Bible refer to sulfur as brimstone. Sulfur was also known to the Chinese in the 6th century BC in its natural form. In the 3rd century the Chinese discovered how to isolate sulfur from the mineral pyrite (commonly known as fool’s gold). After isolation, the Chinese began using sulfur in medicine and sulfur has become a part of traditional Chinese medicine. By 1044 AD the Chinese used sulfur as a main component of gun powder. In 1777 Antoine Lavoisier determined that sulfur was an element and not a compound. That is the history of sulfur. Who discovered sulfur- nobody knows! Now let’s look at four amazing facts about sulfur.
Facts about sulfur
- Sulfur is often spelt sulphur in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, Ireland and other Commonwealth states, but sulfur is the correct spelling in the United States. The official spelling as recognised by different chemical societies is sulfur.
- Hydrogen sulfide, produced in anaerobic decay and commonly known as rotten egg gas, gives sulfur a bad reputation as a bad smelling element! Sulfur in its purest form is actually odourless.
- Coal and oils often contain sulfur impurities. When coal and oils are burnt, some sulfur dioxide gas is produced. This reacts with water in the atmosphere to produce sulfuric acid, a component of acid rain which is very damaging to the environment.
- Sulfur has various uses, although it is mainly used in fertilisers as it is important for plant growth. Sulfur is also used in gunpowder, matches, insecticides and fungicides.