sulfuric acid (H2SO4)
Formerly known as oil of vitriol, a highly corrosive, dense,
oily liquid, colorless to dark brown depending on its purity. Sulfuric acid
(H2SO4) is an oxidizing
agent, reacting with metals, sulfur,
and carbon on heating, and is a powerful
dehydrating agent. In aqueous solution it is a strong acid, and reacts with bases and most metals to give sulfates. Fuming
sulfuring acid, or oleum, is 100% sulfuric acid
containing dissolved sulfur trioxide; it is used to manufacture sulfonic
|To make sulfuric acid, liquid sulfur is blown (1) into a burner (3), also fed with air (2), forming sulfur dioxide . This passes through the filter (4) to the cooling tower (5). In the washing (6) it is washed with water then dried in a packed tower (7) of Raschig rings by means of 98% sulfuric acid entering at 8 and leaving at 9. In the converter (10) the dry sulfur dioxide reacts with oxygen (11), is cooled (12) and the resultant sulfur dioxide is absorbed in 98% sulfuric acid (13) to yield oleum (14). This is diluted (15) with sulfuric acid (16) to produce 98% sulfuric acid (17).
Sulfuric acid is used to manufacture a variety of chemicals including fertilizers, dyestuffs, paints, detergents,
and explosives. It is itself manufactured
industrially by the oxidation of sulfur
dioxide in the contact process.