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Lecture 1

Sulfur and Sulfuric Acid

Sulfur is the basic raw material for manufacture of sulfuric acid

Properties of sulfur
Atomic weight = 32.07
M.P. = 112 119 degC
B.P. = 445 degC
Insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents and liquid ammonia

Consumption of sulfur
80 90% of sulfur containing raw materials are converted to these
oxidized forms
SO2, SO3, H2SO4 Oleum (H2SO4 + SO3)
End uses of for elemental sulfur are
85 90 % for sulfuric acid production
Rest for production of:
1. SO2, SO3
2. Gunpowder, sulfur dyes
3. Rubber vulcanization agents
4. Sulfur concreate
5. Paper

Classification of Sulfur Production


Elemental sulfur Mining Frasch Process (involves no chemical reaction)


Oxidation-reduction of H2S from natural gas and industrial gases


Elemental sulfur from Pyrites (FeS2) Finnish Process

Oxidation--reduction of H2S
Chemical Reactions

2H 2S + 3O 2 2SO 2 + 2H 2 O


4H 2S + 2SO 2

Al2 O3

H O = - 247.89Kcal

6S(gas)+ 4H 2O

H O = - 42.24 Kcal

Raw materials:
H2S from natural (sour) gas and prtoleum refinery streams
Process Description:
H2S and air burned in reaction (a)
The product SO2 reacts with H2S by reaction (b) in a two-stage catalytic
converter with intercooling and condensing
Final waste gas is scrubbed with molten sulfur

Flowsheet of OxidationOxidation-reduction of H2S

Sulfuric Acid
Properties of Sulfuric Acid
Mol. Wt. 98.08, MP = 10.5 degC, BP = 340 degC
Solubility: Completely miscible with water with large heat of solution, with
SO3 giving varying percentage of oleum
Methods of production:
Chamber process
Contact process

Contact Process for the production of Sulfuric Acid

Combustion Chamber (combustion of sulfur)

Converter ( conversion of sulfur dioxide)

Absorption tower (sulfur dioxide absorbed

into the sulfuric acid mist)

Hydration of oleum (to produce sulfuric acid)

Flowsheet of Contact Process for the production of Sulfuric