Sulfate

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In inorganic chemistry, a sulfate (IUPAC-recommended spelling; also sulphate in British English) is a salt of sulfuric acid.

Contents

Chemical properties

The sulphate ion is a polyatomic anion with the empirical formula SO2−
4
and a molecular mass of 96.06 daltons (96.06g/mol); it consists of a central sulfur atom surrounded by four equivalent oxygen atoms in a tetrahedral arrangement. The symmetry is very similar to that of methane, CH4. The sulfur atom is in the +6 oxidation state while the four oxygen atoms are each in the −2 state. The sulfate ion carries a negative two charge and is the conjugate base of the bisulfate (or hydrogen sulfate) ion, HSO
4
, which is the conjugate base of H2SO4, sulfuric acid. Organic sulfates, such as dimethyl sulfate, are covalent compounds and esters of sulfuric acid.

Preparation

Methods of preparing ionic sulfates include:[1]

Properties

Many examples of ionic sulfates are known, and many of these are highly soluble in water. Exceptions include calcium sulfate, strontium sulfate, lead (II) sulfate, and barium sulfate, which are poorly soluble. Radium sulfate is the most insoluble sulfate known. The barium derivative is useful in the gravimetric analysis of sulfate: one adds a solution of, perhaps, barium chloride to a solution containing sulfate ions. The appearance of a white precipitate, which is barium sulfate, indicates that sulfate anions are present.

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