A Report on the Frasch Process of Mining Sulphur

Sulphur is a tasteless, odorless, light-yellow colored element that has been sought after for years for uses such as: sulphur compounds, medicine, matches, rubber, dyes, gunpowder, photography, and many more uses. But sulphur has not always been easy to obtain. That is until a man named Herman Frasch invented a new way to harvest the underground supplies of sulphur

Before 1891 almost all sulphur came from Sicily. A German born American chemist named Herman Frasch changed that fact. Frasch invented a new method for mining sulphur from underground deposits. Thanks to his work the United States now produces a great deal of the worlds sulphur, chiefly from Texas and Louisiana.

Herman Frasch patented his method of mining sulphur in 1891. This method is very effective in areas where natural deposits of sulphur lie about 900ft or more below the surface of the earth, such as in Louisiana and Texas. In his process, a hole is drilled and cased into the sulphur formation where four pipes, one over the other, are placed into the protective casing. Water heated to 3380F and at a pressure of 100pds/psi is then forced down the two outer pipes causing the sulphur to melt. When the right amount of sulphur has been melted, hot air is forced down the fourth pipe to turn the melted sulphur into a air/sulphur mix called froth. The froth is forced up the third pipe from the added pressure of the air. Herman Frasch

The sulphur is then run into wooden bins where it is allowed to dry in the open air. All other substances that have a higher melting point remain underground. This gives the sulphur a 99.5% purity rate, which is much better than other means of extracting sulphur.

As a result America has become one of the top leaders in sulphur production in the world. All of this was accomplished because of a chemist who had a dream and dared to turn it into reality.