Sulfuric Acid H2SO4 | Properties | Uses | and Facts - Elements and Compounds


Sunday, May 7, 2023

Sulfuric Acid H2SO4 | Properties | Uses | and Facts

Properties Uses and Facts about Sulfuric Acid

    What is Sulfuric Acid

    Sulfuric acid (H2SO4) is a compound, it is also called the king of chemicals. It is an extremely reactive and corrosive chemical, composed of sulphur, oxygen and hydrogen. It is a transparent, dense, viscous and oily liquid and dissolves easily in water. In ancient times it was known as oil of vitriol. In India it is also called Sulfuric acid. Its chemical formula is H2SO4, that is, it has two atoms of hydrogen, one atom of sulfur and four atoms of oxygen in one molecule.
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    Sulfuric Acid Properties Uses and other Details

    Properties of Sulfuric Acid

    • Sulfuric acid is a transparent, odorless and colorless liquid, but when contaminated with iron ions, its color becomes light yellow, if iron ions are mixed in excess, its color becomes brown and dark brown.
    • Its density is 1.83 grams per cubic centimeter.
    • Its boiling point is 337 °C, and its melting point is 10 °C.
    • It is a good conductor of electricity.
    • Sulfuric acid is a highly hygroscopic liquid, meaning that when exposed to the atmosphere, it readily absorbs moisture from its surroundings.
    • It is an extremely strong oxidizing agent, and can react with most metals, producing hydrogen gas.
    • The chemical reactivity of sulfuric acid increases greatly at high temperatures.
    • Sulfuric acid is an extremely corrosive liquid, it can cause severe skin burns when it comes in contact with the skin.
    • Mixing sulfuric acid and water causes an exothermic reaction, releasing a lot of heat. Therefore, while mixing these two, it should always be kept in mind that sulfuric acid should always be added to water, water should not be added to sulfuric acid, it may cause explosion and acid may jump out.

    Uses of Sulfuric Acid

    Sulfuric acid is a major chemical used in various industries, it has many uses, some of which are as follows: -


    • Sulfuric acid is used in the production of fertilizers, paper production, and the manufacture of explosives.
    • It is used in mineral processing and waste water processing.
    • Sulfuric acid is also used in the manufacture of a variety of chemicals and phosphoric acid.
    • Sulfuric acid is also used in the manufacture of cleaning products, detergents, dyes and pigments.
    • Sulfuric acid is used in steel production.
    • Sulfuric acid is used as an electrolyte in lead acid batteries.

    How is sulfuric acid made

    First, sulfur is heated, which produces sulfur-dioxide (SO2) gas. After this, sulfur dioxide gas is reacted with oxygen gas in the presence of a catalyst named vanadium penta oxide (V2O5) to form sulfur trioxide (SO3) gas. Sulfur trioxide is then reacted with water to form sulfuric acid.


    S + Heat + O2 = SO2 (sulfur dioxide)

    2SO2 + O2 + V2O5 (Vanadium pentaoxide) = SO3 (Sulfur trioxide) 

    SO3 + H2O (water) = H2SO4 (sulfuric acid)

    Detailed Information on Some other Compounds

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