Definitions

brimstone

brimstone

[brim-stohn]
brimstone: see sulfur.

Any of a diverse group of bacteria that are capable of metabolizing sulfur and its compounds and are important in the sulfur cycle. Members of the genus Thiobacillus, widespread in marine and terrestrial habitats, react with sulfur to produce sulfates useful to plants; in deep ground deposits they generate sulfuric acid, which dissolves metals in mines and corrodes concrete and steel. Desulfovibrio desulficans reduces sulfates in waterlogged soils and sewage to hydrogen sulfide, a gas with the common rotten-egg odour.

Learn more about sulfur bacteria with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Sulfur crystals from Sicily (greatly enlarged)

Nonmetallic chemical element, chemical symbol S, atomic number 16. It is very reactive but occurs native in deposits, as well as combined in various ores (e.g., pyrite, galena, cinnabar); in coal, petroleum, and natural gas; and in the water in sulfur springs. Sulfur is the third most abundant constituent of minerals and one of the four most important basic chemical commodities. Pure sulfur, a tasteless, odourless, brittle yellow solid, occurs in several crystalline and amorphous allotropes, including brimstone and flowers of sulfur. It combines, with valence 2, 4, or 6, with nearly all other elements. Its most familiar compound is hydrogen sulfide, a poisonous gas that smells like rotten eggs. All metals except gold and platinum form sulfides, and many ores are sulfides. The oxides are sulfur dioxide and sulfur trioxide, which when dissolved in water make sulfurous acid and sulfuric acid, respectively. Several sulfur compounds with halogen elements are industrially important. Sodium sulfite (Na2SO3) is a reducing agent used to pulp paper and in photography. Organic compounds with sulfur include several amino acids, the sulfa drugs, and many insecticides, solvents, and substances used in making rubber and rayon.

Learn more about sulfur with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Brimstone is an alternate name for sulfur and may also refer to:

See also

Search another word or see brimstoneon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature