2. (Science: chemistry) Derived from, or containing, sulphur; specifically, designating those compounds in which the element has a higher valence as contrasted with the sulphurous compounds; as, sulphuric acid. Sulphuric acid. Sulphur trioxide (see under Sulphur); formerly so called on the dualistic theory of salts. A heavy, corrosive, oily liquid, H2SO4, colourless when pure, but usually yellowish or brownish, produced by the combined action of sulphur dioxide, oxygen (from the air), steam, and nitric fumes. It attacks and dissolves many metals and other intractable substances, sets free most acids from their salts, and is used in the manufacture of hydrochloric and nitric acids, of soda, of bleaching powders, etc. It is also powerful dehydrating agent, having a strong affinity for water, and eating and corroding paper, wood, clothing, etc. It is thus used in the manufacture of ether, of imitation parchment, and of nitroglycerin. It is also used in etching iron, in removing iron scale from forgings, in petroleum refining, etc, and in general its manufacture is the most important and fundamental of all the chemical industries. Formerly called vitriolic acid, a 659 nd now popularly vitriol, and oil of vitriol. Fuming sulphuric acid, or Nordhausen sulphuric acid. See disulphuric acid. Sulphuric anhydride, sulphur trioxide. See Sulphur. Sulphuric ether, common anaesthetic ether; so called because made by the catalytic action of sulphuric acid on alcohol. See Ether, 3 .
Origin: Cf. F. Sulfurique.