About Sulfates

Sulfates are chemical compounds containing the sulfate anion, (SO42-). Sulfates are salts or esters of sulfuric acid, H2SO4, formed by replacing one or both of the hydrogen atoms with a metal cation or organic group. Most metal sulfates are readily soluble in water, but calcium sulfate is only slightly soluble, while barium, lead, and strontium sulfates are insoluble. Sulfates are widely distributed in nature. Barium sulfate occurs as barite; calcium sulfate is found as gypsum, alabaster, and selenite; Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate; sodium sulfate occurs as its decahydrate, Glauber's salt; and strontium sulfate occurs as celestite. Some sulfates were formerly known as vitriols; blue vitriol is cupric sulfate, green vitriol is ferrous sulfate, and white vitriol is zinc sulfate. Sulfates play a significant role both in the chemical industry and in biological systems. Sulfuric acid is used in lead storage batteries and in the manufacture of nitric acid; copper sulfate is a common algicide.