By Patrick Cruz

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The Chalcogens and Sulfur's Association with Group 16

Sulfur, as well as oxygen, selenium, tellurium, and polonium, is part of Group 16 of the Periodic Table of Elements. Group 16 can also be referred to as "The Oxygen Family", or "Chalcogens". William Blitz and Werner Fischer proposed the name "Chalcogens" due to the Latin word "chalcos" meaning "ore formers". Sulfur got its name by the Sanskrit word "sulvere" and the Latin word "sulphurium", both meaning sulfur.

Common Physical Properties of Sulfur

Sulfur, in its solid state, is mostly (pale) yellow, tasteless, and odorless. Its boiling point is at 444.6 degrees Celcius, and its melting point is at 114 degrees Celcius. It has a poor conductivity of electricity and heat. Also, sulfer has a property in which it's insoluble in water.

Common Chemical Properties of Sulfur

A more famous chemical property of sulfur is when it burns. When it burns, sulfur gives out a blue flame and sulfur dioxide. Sulfur dioxide, or SO2, gives out a distinct, strong odor. Sulfur also combines easily with other elements, like hydrogen. The compound with hydrogen and sulfuric gas is hydrogen sulfide.

Uses of Sulfur

Sulfur can be used to make black gunpowder, matches, fireworks, the treatment of rubber, for fungicide, insecticide, manufacturing phosphate fertilizers, and the treatment of skin diseases. The main use of sulfur is for compounds, like sulfuric acid and hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide can be combined with methane to make a distinct smell and detect when there's a methane leak.