In inorganic chemistry, sulphides are compounds of metals with sulphur, which, analogous to oxides, can be produced directly from the elements by means of redox reactions.
Due to their sometimes high metal content, inorganic sulphides are used as raw materials in the extraction of e.g. of iron, copper, lead, zinc, mercury, arsenic and antimony.
Many important metal ores are sulfides. Significant examples are:
Sodium sulfide is widely used in industry, for example in the leather industry or in mining. It serves as a reducing agent and is used in the textile industry, among other things. It is also used in water treatment, in the manufacture of sulfur paints and in paper manufacture.
In the paper and pulp industry, sodium sulphide is of great importance for the manufacture of paper using the sulphate process, which is also known as Kraf pulping.
A chemical-industrial process for the production of cellulose from the wood of trees or from annual plants such as reed or straw is referred to as the sulfate process or Kraft digestion (so called because of the strength of the paper produced in this way).
In this process, the cell walls are broken down and the lignin and polyoses contained in the plant material are then separated. The sulfate process, in which wood chips are boiled in caustic soda for several hours, is the most common process used to make paper pulp. In addition to sodium sulphide, sodium sulphate is also used in the sulphate process.
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