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Ali Khan

Allotropic Forms of Sulfur

Period 5


Purpose: To observe and describe the allotropes of sulfur. Materials: safety goggles ring stand 50-mL beaker ring support dropper pipet wire gauze 2 watch glasses gas burner 100-mL beaker vegetable oil 250-mL beaker powdered sulfur medium test tube filter paper circles test-tube holder distilled water tweezers paper towels magnifying glass

Procedure: Part A. Orthorhombic Sulfur 1. Pour vegetable oil to a depth of about 0.5 cm into a 50-mL beaker. 2. Add a pea-sized sample of sulfur to the oil. 3. Using a gas burner, heat the oil-sulfur mixture over a low flame for a few seconds. CAUTION: Excessive heating may cause the sulfur-oil mixture to ignite, producing toxic fumes. 4. Using a dropper pipet, place a few drops of the warm oil-sulfur mixture on a watch glass. Put the watch glass and beaker aside. After about 20 minutes, examine the product under a magnifying glass. Record your observations and sketch the shapes of any crystals that have formed. Part B. Monoclinic Sulfur 5. Fold a circle of filter paper into the conical shape used for filtering, and place it in a 100-mL beaker for support, as shown in Figure 21.1.

6. Fill a medium test tube about one-third full with powdered sulfur. 7. Heat the test tube over a low flame. CAUTION: Slow heating is recommended. Continue heating until all the sulfur has melted to an orange-yellow liquid. 8. CAUTION: Molten sulfur can cause painful burns. Pour the liquid sulfur rapidly into the filter paper cone. As soon as the sulfur begins to solidify, carefully use tweezers to remove the filter paper from the beaker. Place the open filter paper on a watch glass. Examine the product with a magnifying glass or a microscope. Record your observations and sketch any crystals that have formed. Part C. Plastic Sulfur 9. Add 150 mL of water to a 250-mL beaker. Fill the test tube used in Part B about one-third full with sulfur. 10. Heat the test tube in a burner flame until the sulfur just begins to boil. The sulfur should be dark red at the boiling point. CAUTION: Sulfur has a boiling point of 444 C! 11. Rapidly pour the hot sulfur into the beaker of cold water, as shown in Figure 21.2. When the sulfur is cool, remove it from the water and place it on a paper towel to dry. Examine the dry sulfur, using a magnifying glass or microscope. Record your observations and sketch this form of the sulfur. 12. Properly dispose of the materials. Data:
DATA TABLE 1: OBSERVATIONS OF ALLOTROPIC SULFUR Allotrope orthorhombic sulfur Description
blocky crystals

Drawing of sample

monoclinic sulfur

small needles

plastic sulfur


Analysis/Conclusion 1. Which allotropes of sulfur are crystalline? Compare the structure of any crystals formed. Orthorhombic sulfur forms rectangular/blocky crystals. Monoclinic sulfur forms needlelike and sharp structures. 2. What happened to the plastic sulfur upon standing for a time? What does this suggest about the relative stabilities of the allotropes of sulfur? The plastic sulfur changes from having no crystalline form to having orthorhombic and monoclinic crystals embedded in the solid. This would suggest that the crystalline forms are the more stable forms of sulfur. 3. Design an experiment to determine which of the crystalline forms of sulfur is the most stable at room temperature and 1 atm pressure. Id store the crystalline forms under those conditions, and Id observe any changes that happened over time.