March 13 2012 3 13 /03 /March /2012 14:18
I recently melted and burnt sulfur. First, the sulfur melts to a light yellow liquid. When the flame is intensified, the liquid darkens to a orange, then red liquid. If it cools, the liquid lightens again. When heated to its ignition point, the sulfur ignites with a pale blue flame, producing clouds of warm sulfur dioxide, which smells heavy and suffocating but not too bad-smelling.
Here is the video of the reaction. A closeup of the melting process for a tiny amount of sulfur is seen (I do not have a large amount of sulfur). Then the burning of sulfur is shown in a darkened room.
I tried to accelerate the burning of the sulfur by filling a test tube with hydrogen peroxide, adding a chunk of manganese dioxide, and placing a rubber stopper with tubing in the top. The small amount of oxygen produced did not accelerate the burning in any way or even slow down the extinguishing process. Then I tried putting a few chunks of manganese dioxide in a glass of hydrogen peroxide and covering it with a paper. The concentration of oxygen was negligibly higher inside the glass, and the sulfur did not burn any brighter. I cannot make plastic sulfur because I do not have enough sulfur to pour.