sulfide, chemical compound containing sulfur and one other element or sulfur and a radical. Sulfides may be salts or esters of hydrogen sulfide, H2S, or may be formed directly, e.g., by heating a metal with sulfur. Hydrosulfides are formed when only one of the hydrogens in hydrogen sulfide is replaced with a metal or radical. Soluble metal sulfides are used in preparing dyes, in leather tanning, as depilatory compounds, and as pesticides. Sulfides of antimony, copper, lead, mercury, silver, and zinc are important as ores; the ores are often roasted, yielding sulfur dioxide and an oxide of the metal. Pyrite is iron disulfide; tarnish on silver is mostly silver sulfide. In chemical analysis, hydrogen sulfide is often used to precipitate from a solution of metal salts certain metal sulfides that have characteristic colors and solubilities. Carbon disulfide is an important solvent for organic compounds.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.