In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog:

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sulfur and Sneezes

I've been working in a facility that handles, melts, processes and ships sulfur. For those of you that don't know anything about the stuff, it's interesting to say the least.

Sulfur starts melting at approximately 240 degrees Fahrenheit. At 275 degrees, it flows like water. At 300 degrees, it becomes thicker and is like heavy syrup at 325 degrees.

In molten form, sulfur release Hydrogen Sulfide, which is a deadly gas. To warn us of accumulations, we wear monitors that beep, when the concentration reaches a certain level. When they beep, the best thing is to walk across the wind and move away from the area. This hasn't happened often, but it has happened.

Sulfur, when mixed with water, will create a weak solution of sulfuric acid. Steel not coated starts corroding immediately, when exposed, and can become severely corroded in a short period of time. Even stainless steel is not immune from the acid. Eventually, it too is eaten away.

Sulfur has a distinct, and strong odor. If you've never smelled it, buy some matches and smell an unlit match. When working around the stuff, the odor is substantially stronger and clothes will reek of this odor at the end of the day. It takes a few washings for the odor to disappear.

When melted, sulfur is a clear, red liquid; much unlike the bright yellow, when solid. When it burns, it becomes a darker yellow and releases Sulfur Dioxide, which is another deadly gas. Having a fire is common and can be started by as little as an automobile tire causing friction as it rolls over sulfur.

So, now you're wondering what I'm doing. I'm in charge of replacing some concrete that is almost destroyed after years of exposure and replacing the sheeting on a large building. I anticipate a few months before we're finished and will work out of town until complete.

I've become used to the environment, but sometimes the sulfur makes me sneeze and always gives my sinuses a fit. I'm rewarded with slight laryngitis when I return home every week, due to sinus drainage. By Monday, it's gone, but I know I'll have it again by the end of the next week.


  1. Although I hate cigarette smoke, when I was a kid, my mom always let me blow out the match when she lit her cigarette. (It was the 60's, don't judge).

    I LOVED the suffer smell from the smoldering match. Still do. But I rarely am around any freshly struck matches now days.

    1. I was like that. When older, we'd scrounge pennies and buy a box of kitchen matches to play with. (Yep; we ignored all the rules and played with matches.)

  2. For a minute there I thought you were a volcanologist. Your work sounds very interesting and its probably a good thing to have this knowledge of what you're playing with. As for me and my current job site, I have no idea what the melting temperatures are of my keyboard, monitor or stapler. Some days I'd like to find out.

    1. It is interesting, but can involve working in locations that I can only describe as dangerous, nasty smelling and not really where I want to be on most days.

    2. "If-If They Take My-My Stapler, I'm Gonna-I'm Gonna Burn The Building Down"