Introduction to Hydrogen Sulfide


Hydrogen sulfide is a chemical compound with H2S as its chemical formula. The gas is colourless with the repellant odour of rotten eggs, highly corrosive, flammable and toxic. The main application of the gas in the industrial sector. Emergency physicians need to be aware of hydrogen sulphide management because fast diagnosis and treatment are critical to recovery.

Chemical properties of hydrogen sulfide

  • Sulfur is not as electronegative as oxygen that makes hydrogen sulphide less polar than water. Because of this, H2S has comparatively weak intermolecular forces and the boiling points and melting points are much lower than in water.
  • Water and hydrogen sulphide boiling points are 100oC and -60oC, respectively.
  • A minute’s margin of hydrogen sulphide is heavier than air; a combination of air and H2S will result in an explosion.
  • The sulphur dioxide reacts with hydrogen sulphide in the presence of catalysts or at higher temperatures to create water and elemental sulphur.

Safety Hazards

  • Hydrogen sulphide is a highly volatile and flammable substance, which can cause life-threatening conditions when treated carelessly.
  • Besides, the hydrogen sulphide gas burns readily, producing other harmful gases and vapours such as sulphur dioxide.

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