sulfur - student specimens of massive sulfur - Unit of 5 specimens
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This sulfur was deposited at a volcanic spring and mined around 40 years ago. Sulfur is interesting to students because it makes noise - hold a specimen tight to your ear and it will crackle like Rice Krispies.
Why does sulfur do that? Sulfur is a poor conductor of heat. Your ear warms the outside of the piece and it expands, but the interior doesn’t. The expanding outer layers of atoms snap past the inner layers. For lab use, sulfur is often melted and cast into sticks called roll sulfur. If you hold a stick of roll sulfur tightly in your hand, it crackles and falls apart.
There is no current mining of sulfur in the United States, though it is used in the production of sulfuric acid and other chemicals. Sulfur is now produced from the refining of natural gas and petroleum. We are currently uncovering an old stockpile buried in alluvium, so the size we offer depends on what passed through the screens almost a half century ago. Sulfur's hardness ranges from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, so you might or might not be able to scratch it with your fingernail. It burns with a blue flame.
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