Sulfur Powder Demonstration

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Sulfur powder is one of the oldest fungicides and pesticides used in agriculture. It is a common additive in fertilizers and can also be mixed into soil as a foliar spray or applied directly to plants as a dust to help control certain diseases, including powdery mildew, and thrips.

Sulphur is also an ingredient in a number of over-the-counter products that reduce dandruff and itchy skin infection caused by mites (scabies). However, there are not enough studies to know whether sulfur has any effects on acne or high cholesterol levels.

Demonstration Procedure:

Preparation and Mixing the Compound – Step 1
Prepare the mixture by weighing out 7 g of finely powdered iron into a test tube and 4 g of finely powdered sulfur into another. Students should then weigh these together and note their appearance on filter paper.

Place a small amount of the mixed iron and sulfur mixture into each of the ignition tubes. Ensure that each tube is filled to no more than one quarter full. Then, heat the reaction mixture in the ignition tubes until you see a glow inside the tube. Then, turn off the Bunsen burner and allow the mixture to cool.

Exothermic Reaction – Step 2

After heating the mixture, the iron and sulfur react together to form the compound, iron(II) sulfide. A dark orange glow is seen inside the test tube.

If the experiment is carried out in an open laboratory, the sulfur vapour may ignite and release a toxic gas. If this happens, the student should be taught how to extinguish the gas by placing a damp cloth over the mouth of the tube.