Why isn't Sulphur a diatomic molecule?

I got surprised when trying to form a reaction of sulphuric acid when I came to discover that sulphur is actually a monatomic molecule.

If you look in its Group, that being Group 6 (VI), you see that at the top is good old oxygen, and I know for a fact that it is a diatomic molecule as: http://www.healthchecksystems.com/images/omolecule...

Then why is sulphur subjected to being a loner then? When it is clearly in the correct "place"!

Has it got to do with its outer shells? Or is there a mistake I have spotted and no-one else has.

I'd appreciate a really good answer from you, if you are reading this.

Thanks.

Update:

Some guy said that the hint can be found in H2SO4, but thats not really true because even though I understand what he's going on about, we can still form half-moles - can't we?

6 Answers

Relevance
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Since sulfur is positioned directly under oxygen in the periodic table, one might suspect relatively simple behavior at the atomic level. This is certainly not the case! Indeed, Jerry Donohue, in his authoritative treatise, "The Structures of the Elements," argues, "Of all of the elements, sulfur presents the most confusion and complexity in this respect." Unlike sulfur's near neighbors, such as N, O, Cl, and Br, or P, As, Se, and Te, which in elemental form exist respectively as diatomic molecules or take on polymorphic networks, the four isotopes of sulfur [32S (95.1%), 33S (0.74%), 34S (4.2%), and 36S (0.016%)] combine to form a uniquely large number of allotropic forms (compare Sn, where n = 1–12, 18, and infinity). Of these, only eight have been characterized crystallographically. The most common form, stable at room temperature and atmospheric pressure, is orthorhombic sulfur (S8). Here, eight sulfur atoms bond covalently in crownlike rings. This allotrope, also known as rhombic sulfur, Muthmann's sulfur, and a-S, was among the first substances to be examined crystallographically by William Bragg in 1914.

    http://pubs.acs.org/cen/80th/sulfur.html

    Phosphorus and sulfur are not diatomic elements. They generally form molecules of P4 and S8 although other forms of these elements also exist. In part this is because they form single bonds rather than the triple and double bonds found in N2 and O2. Phosphorus and sulfur atoms do not have a strong enough pull on electrons to form multiple bonds by themselves.

    http://tinyurl.com/8v9b9c

  • 4 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.

    RE:

    Why isn't Sulphur a diatomic molecule?

    I got surprised when trying to form a reaction of sulphuric acid when I came to discover that sulphur is actually a monatomic molecule.

    If you look in its Group, that being Group 6 (VI), you see that at the top is good old oxygen, and I know for a fact that it is a diatomic molecule as:...

    Source(s): isn 39 sulphur diatomic molecule: https://biturl.im/SQPFW
  • Hanna
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Diatomic molecules are substances composed of only two atoms, of either the same or different elements. 1. Sodium chloride NaCl = Na and Cl (diatomic) 2. Nitrogen Monoxide NO = N and O (diatomic) 3. Silicon tetrachloride SiCl4 = Si and 4Cl (not diatomic) 4. Sulphur Dioxide SO2 = S and 2O (not diatomic)

  • 1 decade ago

    Are you asking why elemental sulphur isn't S2, same as oxygen (O2) because it isn't, it's generally accepted to be S8, in a crown formation.... because that's how it's happiest! Or do you want a explanation of the hybrid orbitals involved in it's compounds?

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • darley
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Is Sulfur Diatomic

  • Echion
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    The hint is in the H2SO4.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.